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NSW ready for star-studded WA

Blues enter the second half of the Shield season at the top of the table but without most of their Test players

The JLT Sheffield Shield resumes on Thursday, with under-strength ladder leader NSW vowing to play aggressively against a WA side having access to their four international players.

Less than 12 points separate NSW (24.94) from last placed defending champions Victoria (13.11) heading into a frantic schedule of five rounds in as many weeks.

Blues and Australian captain Steve Smith and pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are all being rested before heading to South Africa, while David Warner is captaining Australia in the one-day tri series.


Conversely, fourth-placed (WA 17.56) will have international batsmen Cameron Bancroft, Shaun and Mitchell Marsh and paceman Jhye Richardson available for the WACA clash.

"I know that the two Marshs, Bancroft and Jhye Richardson are the guys that have been allowed to play by CA, at the end of the day, who really cares, we'll turn up and take them on whoever they are," NSW paceman Trent Copeland told AAP.

NSW won their first three games when they had the majority of their Test stars available.

However, they then battled to a draw against Victoria and were thumped by Tasmania in Hobart.

"To have a bit of a mental refresh and hit the reset button for a good six weeks, will have been great for guys," Copeland said.

"We're still on top of the table we're going to play aggressive cricket every time we walk on the field."

Watch Starc's two hat-tricks back-to-back

A thumb injury has ruled Test batsman Usman Khawaja out of captaining second-placed Queensland (21.42) in their home match against Tasmania (19.64, 3rd).

The Tigers will be without rested Test wicketkeeper Tim Paine and batsman Jordan Silk, who broke a collarbone while playing in the BBL.

South Australia (16.06, 5th), host Victoria in the other game.with the Redbacks missing batsman and captain Travis Head, wicketkeeper Alex Carey and bowlers Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa due to Australian T20 commitments.

In Head's absence, batsman Tom Cooper will captain South Australia for the first time in first-class cricket.

Peter Handscomb returns to captain the Bushrangers, while fellow South African tourist and spinner Jon Holland is also in the Victorian squad.

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