Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Big names miss, Paine breaks drought as Shield returns
Take a closer look at the six squads for the return of the Marsh Sheffield Shield on Friday
12 February 2020, 07:26 PM AEST
The KFC BBL is done for another summer which means Australia's best domestic cricketers will pull out the whites again for the second half of the Marsh Sheffield Shield season.
NSW Blues are the team to beat with four regular-season games to go before the final in late March, with the other five teams separated by just 12 points and all still in the running for a spot in the final.
As always, there are also Test matters to consider ahead of Australia's assignment in Bangladesh later this year, with spin bowlers and pace-bowling allrounders in particular keen to put in some good performances ahead of that series.
Marsh Sheffield Shield, Round 7, Feb 14-17
NSW Blues v Victoria at the SCG
It's top against bottom at the SCG this week, with the Blues looking to extend their already strong lead at the top of the table against the winless defending champions.
NSW will be without five first-choice players due to Australia's Qantas Tour of South Africa – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, David Warner and Sean Abbott are all unavailable – but they will welcome back star left-hander Kurtis Patterson for just his second game of the season after a luckless summer on the injury front.
Test spinner Nathan Lyon will also be available again alongside Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes and Steve O'Keefe, who are all fresh off celebrating the Sydney Sixers' win in the KFC BBL Final.
The Vics are desperate for a win and will have to make do without Aaron Finch (international duty) and Glenn Maxwell (elbow injury) as well as Will Pucovski and Sam Harper (concussion) and paceman James Pattinson (rested).
Harper is back on light training duties and will be looking to make a return to Shield cricket soon, while Pucovski's immediate future is unclear after he suffered yet another concussion in a recent game against the England Lions development squad.
Test paceman Pattinson is being held back for the Australia A clash against the Lions at the MCG next week, while uncapped spinner Wil Parker could make his debut in the continued absence of Jon Holland, who is sidelined by a finger injury.
NSW: Peter Nevill (c), Trent Copeland, Harry Conway, Matthew Gilkes, Liam Hatcher, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Nathan Lyon, Steve O'Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Solway
Victoria: Peter Handscomb (c), Scott Boland, Travis Dean, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Seb Gotch, Marcus Harris, Nic Maddinson, Wil Parker, Matthew Short, Peter Siddle, Will Sutherland, Chris Tremain
Queensland v Tasmania at the Gabba
The Bulls will resume their Shield campaign without former Test opener Matt Renshaw after the 23-year-old decided to step back from cricket for a period after a lean run of form, less than two years since the left-hander last played a Test for Australia. In consultation with Queensland Cricket, it was decided Renshaw needed "to freshen up" before returning to playing.
The Bulls have instead kept the faith with rookie Bryce Street, their leading run-scorer this season, in a strong top order that will also feature Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja and the recently crowned Test Player of the Year, Marnus Labuschagne.
Tasmania will be without skipper Matthew Wade after he earned a surprise recall to Australia's T20 and ODI squads, meaning Test skipper Tim Paine will captain the Tigers in the Shield for the first time since November 2014.
The match is the first for Tasmania since the retirement of George Bailey, while paceman Riley Meredith will again miss out due to injury
Queensland: Usman Khawaja (c), Joe Burns, Cameron Gannon, Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan McSweeney, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Bryce Street, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Jack Wildermuth
Tasmania: Tim Paine (c), Gabe Bell, Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, Ben McDermott, Simon Milenko, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Charlie Wakim, Beau Webster, Macalister Wright
South Australia v Western Australia at Adelaide Oval
The Redbacks will be without Alex Carey, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa due to international duty, but they have welcomed back swing bowler Dan Worrall for his first game of the season after a horror run of injuries.
Test batsman Travis Head also returns to captain the side, while veteran batter Tom Cooper is also back.
WA are also missing four key players due to the South Africa tour, with skipper Mitchell Marsh, spinner Ashton Agar and fast bowler Jhye Richardson all unavailable while D'Arcy Short was a late-call-up after Glenn Maxwell's elbow issue.
Domestic Player of the Year Shaun Marsh will captain the side in the absence of his brother, with Sydney Sixers star batsman Josh Philippe back in the Shield squad after a lean run leading into the BBL break. However, recent Australia representative Ashton Turner – the state vice-captain – has again been overlooked having scored just 14 runs from four innings this Shield season.
South Australia: Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Will Bosisto, Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Henry Hunt, Joe Mennie, Harry Nielsen (wk), Chadd Sayers, Jake Weatherald, Daniel Worrall, Nick Winter
Western Australia: Shaun Marsh (c), Cam Bancroft, Jake Carder, Cam Green, Liam Guthrie, Josh Inglis, Matt Kelly, Simon Mackin, David Moody, Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, Marcus Stoinis