Marsh One-Day Cup 2021
Queensland’s Swepson, Neser grounded by injury
Leg-spinner Swepson battling mystery neck complaint, while paceman Neser suffered hamstring injury at training in a hit to the Bulls’ bowling stocks
12 February 2021, 04:00 PM AEST
Queensland have been dealt two major blows with Mitchell Swepson and Michael Neser both sidelined for the resumption of the domestic season.
The pair, who were both unused members of Australia's Test squad this summer after outstanding early-season domestic form, have been ruled out of Queensland's Marsh Sheffield Shield and Marsh One-Day Cup squads that play Tasmania in Hobart next week.
Swepson, the Shield competition's leading wicket-taker so far, will be sent for scans to try and determine the cause of a mystery neck complaint that has sidelined the leg-spinner for an indefinite timeframe.
And pace bowling allrounder Neser has also been sidelined after suffering a hamstring injury at training on Tuesday afternoon.
Neser is expected to miss at least three weeks, making his participation in the Bulls' match against Western Australia in Brisbane beginning March 6 highly doubtful.
The outlook is even less clear for Swepson after the leg-spinner reported soreness in his neck during the closing stages of the KFC BBL, where he took nine wickets in six games at 18 and an economy of 6.75.
And while the neck complaint caused him considerable pain while bowling, the T20 format's requirement for just four overs per match allowed the 27-year-old to press on through as the Heat made a charge into the finals, before being eliminated by the Perth Scorchers in the Challenger final.
It was hoped a break after the BBL would see Swepson's neck complaint settle, but it again flared when he returned to bowling at Queensland training this week.
Swepson is a key weapon for the Bulls, having taken 23 wickets at 21.17, including three five-wicket hauls in six innings, in their 2-1 start to the season in the Adelaide hub that has them clear at the top of the table.
His importance to the state's Shield hopes has seen Queensland staff move to try and pinpoint the exact nature of the issue in the hope Swepson could return to bowling quickly.
It's understood he'll have scans on his neck early next week, with the hope that it could prove as simple as a pinched nerve, although a spokesman conceded the unknown nature of the incident made it impossible to put a timeframe on his return.
Heightening concerns for the Bulls staff, there was no one specific incident that triggered the complaint, and the pain is enough that it was deemed not worthwhile to risk him in even one-day cricket, let alone four-day cricket.
Left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann is the beneficiary of Swepson's absence, included in the Bulls' 13-man squad and in line for a first-class debut, while towering quick Billy Stanlake is also in line for his first state match of the summer, having missed the early-season hub while at the IPL.
Three of the Bulls remaining five Shield matches will be played in Brisbane, with games against WA, Victoria and South Australia before a final-round match against NSW in Wollongong as they chase their first Shield title since 2017-18.
Usman Khawaja continues as the state's captain and it's understood there was never any serious discussion among the Bulls hierarchy about handing the reins of either the Shield or one-day sides to Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne.
Labuschagne has been touted in some quarters as a potential long-term successor to the Australian captaincy. NSW this week made Test vice-captain Pat Cummins the captain of their one-day side.
Nathan McSweeney also makes his first appearance in the Bulls' Shield squad this summer having dominated Premier Cricket for the Norths Vikings.
McSweeney has scored 1139 runs at 75.93 in all formats this season, including four centuries and four half-centuries, to be almost 275 runs ahead of the next highest scorer, his Bulls squad-mate Sam Heazlett with 865 for Redlands.
Heazlett has been included in the Bulls one-day squad that plays its first game against Tasmania after the Shield match.
Queensland squads to face Tasmania
Marsh Sheffield Shield (Feb 17-20): Usman Khawaja (c), Xavier Bartlett, Joe Burns, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan McSweeney, Jimmy Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Jack Wildermuth.
Marsh One Day Cup (Feb 22): Usman Khawaja (c), Xavier Bartlett, Joe Burns, Brendan Doggett, Sam Heazlett, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Jimmy Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee, Jack Wildermuth.