New South Wales selectors have chosen four possible debutants to travel to Brisbane for the first two matches of the Blues Marsh One-Day Cup campaign.
Sheffield Shield debutant last season Nick Bertus joins Blues rookie wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Gilkes, paceman Liam Hatcher and Sydney Thunder fast bowling allrounder Nathan McAndrew in the 14-man squad.
The Blues begin their Marsh One-Day Cup campaign on 22 September against Queensland followed by South Australia, 26 September, both at Allan Border Field.
Recent Test debutant Kurtis Patterson, reigning Steve Waugh Medallist fast bowler Sean Abbott, and teenage sensation Jack Edwards have all been named.
The squad departs for Queensland on Sunday. They will play two 50-over practice matches against a Cricket Australia Indigenous XI and South Australia on 16 and 18 September in Maroochydore before heading to Brisbane.
Two players have been selected from outside the Blues contracted squad. McAndrew, 26, and Thunder off-spinner Arjun Nair, 21, who was part of the Blues squad during the previous three seasons playing 10 One-Day matches for NSW and the Cricket Australia XI.
Blues head coach Phil Jaques said all four potential debutants had earned their selections through strong performances in the Blues preseason trials.
“All of those players have been performers for a long time (as well),” said Jaques.
“Someone like Nick Bertus has a great body of work through grade cricket, through second XI cricket. He deserves his opportunity, he’s literally knocked it out of the park through the course of the preseason trials.
“Matt Gilkes is a dynamic young player, showed some great signs in second XI cricket and the Big Bash last year.”
“Nathan McAndrew, obviously with the Thunder … he’s a great allround package, fantastic fielder, very good bowler and also provides us with some good power with his batting.
“Liam Hatcher finished the season really, really strongly last year and has been really impressive through the preseason as well. Good young quick with good pace.”
Bertus made his Shield and First Class debut during the final round win against Tasmania that secured the Blues a place in the Shield Final last season.
The 26-year-old Parramatta captain also received the Bill O’Reilly Medal last season, as the best and fairest player in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket, after scoring more than 1,000 First Grade runs for the second successive campaign.
Gilkes, 20, also made his T20 debut for the Thunder in January scoring 51 against the Perth Scorchers at Optus Stadium.
He compiled 508 runs at an average of 46 for ACT/NSW Country in the Toyota Futures League, now known as the Toyota Second XI.
McAndrew is also a contracted player with the Thunder. The right-arm quick joined the club in 2015/16, the same year it won the Big Bash title.
Last season, Hatcher enjoyed his best season by far in the Futures League. The 22-year-old speedster claimed 25 wickets at 15.4 including career best figures of 7-43. His previous best was 10 scalps.
Hatcher has played five List A One-Day matches for the Cricket Australia XI previously.
After being delisted this season, Jaques said that Nair had responded well during the preseason.
“He’s trained with the squad pretty much the whole preseason … worked really hard on his game, taken stock after losing his contract and fought his way back in through performances at training and in the trial games.
“The whole squad have trained really, really hard throughout the course of the winter, fitter than they’ve ever been.”
Jaques said the 14-man squad was chosen with an aggressive brand of cricket in mind.
“We wanted guys that were dynamic … and guys that could provide in more than one skill.
“I think it gives the captain lots of options regardless of the situation.”
Edwards, 19, was named the Blues One-Day Cup Most Valuable Player in 2018/19 after a whirlwind first season.
He finished as the leading run-scorer for NSW with 273 at 54.6 and became the youngest player to score a century in Australian One-Day domestic cricket at 18.
Abbott was the Blues leading wicket taker with 12 One-Day scalps at 25.5.
Marsh One-Day Cup Squad