Marsh Sheffield Shield 2020-21
WA see red as white-ball stars cut in list shake-up
Australia limited-overs stars Nathan Coulter-Nile and Andrew Tye among the casualties as WA put their focus on ending 21-year Sheffield Shield title drought
23 June 2020, 11:09 AM AEST
Western Australia have set their sights on ending their 21-year Sheffield Shield title drought by axing some white-ball stars and adding red-ball bowling depth to their state squad for the 2020-21 summer.
WA won the Marsh One-Day Cup and were second in the Marsh Sheffield Shield heading into last summer's KFC BBL season, but went winless in the second half of the Shield to finish fifth, with their bowling stocks depleted by injuries.
In a huge boost for the state, rising star Cameron Green and left-arm spearhead Jason Behrendorff have both returned to bowling and are on track to be fit to start the domestic season.
The red-ball focus has seen casualties: Nathan Coulter-Nile, a key figure in last year's World Cup squad for Australia, and noted white-ball specialist Andrew Tye have both been axed from the state's contract list, along with Simon Mackin.
Coulter-Nile – who is on a long-term deal with the Melbourne Stars – and Mackin, who has signed with Victorian Premier Cricket club Melbourne University, are both expected to try and push for Victorian selection. Tye has opted to remain in the state and remains part of WA's Marsh Cup plans and may earn a contract upgrade through appearances.
WA officially confirmed the arrival of last summer's leading Shield wicket-taker Cameron Gannon on a three-year deal from Queensland to boost the fast bowling stocks, while uncapped 22-year-old right-armer Lance Morris was elevated to a full contract.
Gannon, who took 38 wickets at 20.92 with the Bulls last summer, is serving a 14-day isolation in the state having relocated across the country with his family.
Spin bowling has also received a boost with leg-spinner Liam O'Connor earning a full contract for state. The 27-year-old took 5-131 on debut against NSW last summer and has played with the Adelaide Strikers in the KFC BBL for the past four years.
"Our focus, no doubt, will be to improve our Sheffield Shield results, we were disappointing at the back end of last season and will be looking to rectify that this year," said WA coach Adam Voges, who is entering the final year of his initial three-year contract.
"We identified at the end of last season that our bowling depth in Shield cricket and our spin stocks needed a boost.
"It's exciting to have Cam (Gannon) come across to the West. He had a terrific season in red-ball cricket being the leading wicket taker in Sheffield Shield cricket and will bring experience and leadership to our young bowling group.
"A number of our young players gained playing experience last season and this will build our depth, which means competition for spots will be strong, particularly when we are at full strength."
Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson and Mitch Marsh are the state's nationally contracted players, while the likes of Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Turner and Marcus Stoinis will all be seeking to find their way back into the national set-up.
D'Arcy Short resisted overtures from Tasmania – where he plays Big Bash cricket with the Hobart Hurricanes – to remain in WA, while rising talent Josh Philippe is another who will be under high expectations this year.
WNCL Champs add fresh talent
On the women's side, the defending WNCL champions have recruited Victorian leg-spinner Alana King while adding promising local talent Zoe Britcliffe, a fast bowler, and teen Georgia Wylllie.
"Georgia and Zoe have both transitioned from our rookie program, which is testament to our strong talent pathway and the development of female cricket in WA," head coach Becky Grundy said.
"We are thrilled to have Alana join us from Victoria, she'll bring a wealth of experience to the group having played state cricket for a number of seasons now and provides us with another attacking option with both the bat and ball.
"This gives us the platform to peak at the right times in the season, and provide a real chance to be in a position to defend the title."
WA lost the services of Heather Graham who moved to Tasmania to be closer to her partner, while New Zealand star Sophie Devine will not return this summer.
Western Australia Squads:
Nationally Contracted: Ashton Agar, Mitch Marsh, Jhye Richardson
WA Men: Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Jake Carder, Hilton Cartwright, Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green, Liam Guthrie, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Shaun Marsh, David Moody, Lance Morris, Liam O'Connor, Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman
Rookies: Sam Fanning, Bradley Hope, Corey Rocchiccioli
WA Women: Megan Banting, Nicole Bolton, Zoe Britcliffe, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Sheldyn Cooper, Ashley Day, Amy Edgar, Molly Healy, Alana King, Emma King, Taneale Peschel, Chloe Piparo, Georgia Wyllie