Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Player-of-the-match dropped as Test stars return
NSW and Tasmania both make tough selection calls for their Round 2 Marsh Sheffield Shield clash in Sydney
18 October 2019, 12:12 PM AEST
Former Australia captain George Bailey has been dropped from Tasmania's Marsh Sheffield Shield side while a star-studded NSW have made a bold call of their own in axing Harry Conway, the player-of-the-match in their win over Queensland last week.
A Drummoyne Oval pitch that both sides expect to take turn has played a key role in the upheaval, with the hosts recalling Australia star Nathan Lyon and his former Test sidekick Stephen O'Keefe while the Tigers have brought in spin-bowling allrounder Beau Webster for Bailey.
The returns of O’Keefe and Lyon left no room for Conway despite the right-armer's stunning match haul of 10-56 that lead the Blues to victory over the Bulls in the opening round of the season.
The Blues selectors faced a tough call; Test paceman Mitchell Starc was a lock, Trent Copeland was last season's leading Shield wicket taker, while Sean Abbott's batting ability allows the Blues to play five bowlers.
Bailey will head back to Hobart to play Premier Cricket for South Hobart-Sandy Bay on Saturday, but he is set to return to Sydney for the Marsh One-Day Cup game against NSW on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old relinquished the Tasmanian captaincy last summer before having his season cut short by a shoulder injury, but elected to play on this season and reject the lure of the domestic T20 circuit.
His successor as skipper Matthew Wade said Bailey had taken the news of his omission well and flagged that he could continue to be in and out of the team during the season.
"Beau Webster has come into give us a bit of a spin option and George Bailey has gone out – that's the role that 'Bails' will play throughout the year," Wade said after the toss on Cricket Network's live stream.
"He played the extra year and is happy to make way for the younger players when the opportunity arises, that's how he'll play the role.
"We lose Ben McDermott next week (to Australia's T20 squad) so he'll most likely come back in."
Australia reps McDermott, Wade and Tim Paine, along with youngster Caleb Jewell who scored his maiden first-class half-century against Western Australia last week after an impressive start to his Marsh Cup season, fill out the middle order in Bailey's absence.
The visitors are also without key quick Jackson Bird, who is absent due to the birth of his first child, with Alex Pyecroft replacing him.
Lyon, O'Keefe and fellow Blues inclusion Kurtis Patterson are all back from injury after missing the five-wicket win over Queensland, with batsmen Nick Bertus and Nick Larkin both omitted along with Conway.
Conway, who is 200cm tall and roomed with Test star Steve Smith last week, said after his first-innings five-wicket haul that he was just chuffed to have won a spot in the team for the opening round.
"Just being a part of this XI is fantastic. I had to pinch myself," Conway said after taking 5-17 off 13 overs on the opening day of the match. “I’m rooming with Steve this week as well and I’ll be picking his brain.
"To bowl in front of and behind ‘Starcy’ was a real honour for me today. He’s been one of Australia’s best bowlers.
"For all three of them to be playing and giving us as much as they do, we’re obviously stoked.”
NSW will host Tasmania in the Marsh Sheffield Shield at Drummoyne Oval from 10.30am AEDT from Friday, October 17 with a free live stream via cricket.com.au and the CA Live app, including Apple TV
NSW XI: Daniel Hughes, David Warner, Steven Smith, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill (c/wk), Sean Abbott, Mitchell Starc, Steve O’Keefe, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon
Tasmania XI: Jordan Silk, Alex Doolan, Beau Webster, Matthew Wade (c), Ben McDermott, Caleb Jewell, Tim Paine (wk), Sam Rainbird, Alex Pyecroft, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Riley Meredith