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Lyon returns for NSW as Shield gets Test influx

Off-spinner expected to be joined by Alex Carey and Cameron Green as inclusions for the next round of Sheffield Shield matches

Nathan Lyon will put the finishing touches on his preparations for the Test summer this week as he returns to the NSW line-up for their Marsh Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania at the SCG.

Lyon missed the Blues’ away trip to Hobart last week as part of his workload management ahead of a seven-Test summer, that includes a two-match tour of New Zealand in February-March.

But the veteran off-spinner headlines several star inclusions for this week's Shield round with Test teammates Alex Carey and Cameron Green also expected to turn out for their respective states after completing their World Cup commitments.

NSW squad v Tasmania: Jackson Bird, Ollie Davies, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Ryan Hackney, Moises Henriques (c), Sam Konstas, Nathan Lyon, Blake Macdonald, Blake Nikitaras, Jack Nisbet, Jason Sangha, Chris Tremain

It will be Lyon's third first-class match since returning to the field last month from the devastating calf injury that ended his Ashes after the first two Tests.

Carey, who was dropped after Australia's first match of the World Cup and never regained his place, will take the gloves for South Australia when they meet Victoria at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday for some valuable match practice ahead of the first Test against Pakistan beginning in Perth on December 14.

"Although I'd love to have been part of the XI, it was still a really special two months away with a group that's had an amazing year," Carey said after arriving home from India last week.

"You never want to get dropped in any format … we'll wait and see where the Test selection comes out but I'm looking forward to getting out there Tuesday and having a hit with the red-ball for the Redbacks and then see what happens."

Green, who played three matches during the successful World Cup title run, was also named in a strong Prime Minister's XI side to face Pakistan in Canberra next month, which is an indication from national selectors that fellow West Australian allrounder Mitch Marsh is the frontrunner to take the No.6 spot for the first Test.

Cameron Green and Alex Carey train together during the recent ODI World Cup in India // Getty

Both the Redbacks and WA are yet to release their squads for the upcoming fixtures against the Vics and Queensland respectively.

Veteran NSW opener Daniel Hughes, however, has paid the price for a low run of scores amid another tough start to the season.

The 34-year-old was the Blues’ leading run-scorer during their winless 2022-23 campaign with 537 at 41.30, but has struggled for the same consistency this summer having gone five completed innings without passing 25 following two half-centuries in two matches to start the Shield season.

The left-hander has been omitted from the NSW squad alongside Ben Dwarshuis to face Tasmania beginning on Tuesday, with Lyon, Blake Nikitaras and teenager Sam Konstas the inclusions to the 13-player squad.

Nikitaras, who has opened in all of his eight first-class appearances to date, has been named in the NSW Shield squad for the first time this season, as has 18-year-old opener Konstas who will make his first-class debut if selected in the final XI.

Australian Under-19 star Konstas hit a century in the second Youth ODI against England U19s during the winter tour and narrowly missed his senior NSW debut earlier this month when he was named in the 12-player squad for their Marsh One-Day Cup clash against WA.

Blues head coach Greg Shipperd said their "top-order batting is under pressure" during their innings and one-run loss to the Tigers, which was perhaps an early sign of the personnel changes in store for their round six match.

"Disappointingly for us, after a terrific match last game (to beat reigning champions WA by 10 wickets), we've not found any rhythm whatsoever in this game," Shipperd said at stumps on day two.

Jack Edwards, Liam Hatcher and Hayden Kerr were not considered for selection for the match due to injury, but NSW said all three remained on track to return to action for their respective clubs in KFC BBL|13, which begins on December 7.

Sheffield Shield 2023-24 standings

Team
Matches played
M
Wins
W
Losses
L
Drawn
D
No results
N/R
Deductions
Ded.
Batting Bonus
Bat
Bowling Bonus
Bowl
Total points
PTS
1 Tasmanian Tigers Men Tasmanian Tigers Men TAS 9 5 1 3 0 0 6.06 7.3 46.36
2 Western Australia Men Western Australia Men WA 9 4 2 3 0 0 5.09 8.4 40.49
3 Victoria Men Victoria Men VIC 9 4 3 2 0 0 4.74 7.2 37.94
4 NSW Men NSW Men NSW 9 3 3 3 0 0 5.15 8 34.15
5 South Australia Redbacks South Australia Redbacks SA 9 2 6 1 0 0 4.48 8.3 25.78
6 Queensland Bulls Queensland Bulls QLD 9 2 5 2 0 0 3.54 7.3 24.84

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

D: Drawn

N/R: No results

Ded.: Deductions

Bat: Batting Bonus

Bowl: Bowling Bonus

PTS: Total points