JLT Sheffield Shield 2018-19
Stanlake set for long-awaited Shield return
Towering speedster named by Queensland after a three-year absence, while another Test aspirant will be back in action for SA
28 February 2019, 02:28 PM AEST
Fast bowler Billy Stanlake is set to play first-class cricket for the first time in more than three years this weekend, while Ashes hopeful Dan Worrall will also return for the next round of the JLT Sheffield Shield.
Stanlake made his long-awaited return to long-form cricket last week, taking 2-53 for Queensland’s Toyota Futures League side, and has been named in the Bulls’ Shield squad to face NSW from Sunday.
The towering quick replaces leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, who has taken 22 wickets at 38 this season.
Touted by Ricky Ponting as having the potential to become an all-time fast-bowling great, Stanlake has hardly touched a red ball since playing a pair of Shield games for Queensland during the 2015-16 summer.
Instead, the raw two-metre tall quick has been carefully managed through Australia's limited-overs sides, playing seven ODIs and 17 T20Is since his international debut in January 2017, and for the Adelaide Strikers in the KFC Big Bash.
But having gotten through most of the summer unscathed – aside from a rolled ankle that curtailed his involvement in Australia's T20 series against India earlier this summer – Stanlake is on track to realise his stated goal of playing more red-ball cricket.
"Bill is keen to showcase his red ball skills and returning to first class cricket has been one of his goals this season,’’ Queensland chairman of selectors Justin Sternes said.
Stanlake wasn't at his fearsome best during the recently-concluded KFC BBL, collecting 11 wickets in 11 games but conceding 9.07 runs per over, up from 6.47 last season.
His form for Australia in five T20s this summer (including September's UAE tour) was more encouraging, picking up nine wickets at 14. He played just the one ODI, against India, before his ankle injury.
Speaking during last season's T20 tri-series where he was assistant coach, Ponting was effusive about Stanlake's talent.
"I just love the look of what he's got," Ponting told cricket.com.au. "He's almost seven feet tall, bowls close to 150 kilometres an hour, he can swing the new ball.
"He's got a little nasty streak in him as well – he likes bowling bouncers.
"When we see him get a bit more of a tank and grow into his body a bit more and put on a little bit of weight, I think he's someone that could be one of the all-time great fast bowlers.”
Worrall, meanwhile, has also been named to return as he resumes his push for a spot in Australia’s Ashes squad this year.
The swing bowler has battled a back injury this summer and missed last round against Tasmania, but has earned a recall in place of one-Test swing bowler Chadd Sayers, who has a hamstring injury.
Worrall took 17 wickets in just three matches before the mid-season break.
Left-arm spinner Tom Andrews has also been recalled by the Redbacks in place of leg-spinner Lloyd Pope, who has been dropped.
SA coach Jamie Siddons said last week that Pope was still making adjustments to long-form cricket and the Dukes ball following his maiden KFC BBL campaign with the Sydney Sixers.
NSW have named an unchanged squad from the one that defeated Western Australia by an innings at Bankstown Oval.
JLT Sheffield Shield Round 8
Queensland v NSW at the Gabba, March 3-6
Western Australia v South Australia at the WACA Ground, March 3-6
Victoria v Tasmania at the Junction Oval, March 5-8
Queensland: James Peirson (c), Joe Burns, Luke Feldman, Cameron Gannon, Sam Heazlett, Charlie Hemphrey, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan McSweeney, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee (12th man to be named)
South Australia: Travis Head (c), Tom Andrews, Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Jake Lehmann, Conor McInerney, Joe Mennie, Harry Nielsen, Luke Robins, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter, Daniel Worrall
NSW: Peter Nevill (c), Sean Abbott, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Jack Edwards, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Jason Sangha, Greg West
(The remaining states will name their squads in the coming days.)