Ed Cowan is one of four players included in a NSW 13-man squad for the JLT Sheffield Shield match against Victoria, beginning at North Sydney Oval on Friday.
The veteran left hander has been recalled along with fellow batsman Nick Larkin and spinners Steve O’Keefe and Will Somerville.
O’Keefe has successfully recovered from a broken finger and played the first two days of the current four-day Futures League match against Western Australia at Blacktown.
Missing from the Shield team that recent beat Queensland are Australian captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and spinner Nathan Lyon, who are playing the first Test against England in Brisbane, beginning on Thursday.
Cowan was the leading run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield last season with 959 runs at an average of 73.77. He and Blues wicket-keeper Peter Nevill were the only players to score three Shield centuries in 2016/17.
The Blues lead the Shield table after three straight victories.
“When you add five or six Test players into the mix you expect to win a few games,” Cowan said.
“We’ve been lucky that two work class batsmen and four world class bowlers (Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins) have been available and they’ve done the business.
“It’s a great way to set the season up. Five wins usually sees you through to a Shield final and to be able to push for that this week and next week before Christmas would be a great thrill.
“One of the strengths of NSW cricket is the guys who aren’t playing.
“The big bowlers who are not in the Test team didn’t play last game and other guys stepped up (against Queensland).
“It’s a bit of an odd situation from my own point of view having not played any cricket and it’s the end of November.
“It feels like my season hasn’t even started so I’m just looking for some time in the middle knowing the runs will come if I can string some good hours of batting together.
NSW Blues squad
Moises Henriques (c)