Australia Test players Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have all been named in a 12-man NSW Blues squad for round four of the Marsh Sheffield Shield against Western Australia at the SCG starting Monday.
David Warner will miss the match for family reasons as the ladder leading Blues return to their spiritual home for the first time this season to take on second-placed Western Australia. The Blues have registered three wins from as many matches to start the Shield season.
Warner has already scored two centuries this season, for the Blues in their opening Shield match of the season against Queensland at the Gabba and for Australia in the opening Twenty20 International of the summer against Sri Lanka in Adelaide.
Blues batsmen Nick Bertus and Matt Gilkes and fast bowlers Harry Conway and Liam Hatcher have been left out of the 12 due to the return of Smith, Starc, Cummins and former Australian Test spinner Stephen O’Keefe.
Cummins plays his first Shield match since round four last season at Manuka Oval where the Blues prevailed by 163 runs over Queensland. Next week’s fixture will be the third Shield match this season for Smith, Lyon and Starc.
Smith, Starc and Cummins all return from national duties with the Australian T20 squad while Hazlewood and Lyon were both part of the victorious side that defeated South Australia by 96 runs last round.
Hazlewood bowled the Blues to victory at Adelaide Oval. The 28-year-old fast bowler claimed career best First Class figures of 6-35 from 18.4 overs in the second innings. Lyon returned three wickets for the match.
Nathan Lyon at Blues training on Sunday.
Top-order batsman Daniel Solway, who became the first Blues player to score a century on debut since Kurtis Patterson in 2011 at the Adelaide Oval last week, has retained his place in the squad courtesy of the unbeaten 133.
O’Keefe has played just one Shield match this season mainly due to injury, taking two wickets in the eight-wicket win over Tasmania at Drummoyne Oval dominated by left-arm quick Starc, who claimed a pair of five-wicket hauls.
Western Australia travel to Sydney after a draw with Queensland at the Gabba, Brisbane, completed on Tuesday, where fast bowler Cameron Green starred with bat in hand, scoring a match-saving unbeaten 87 and 121 at No. 8 and No. 9 respectively.
NSW Blues squad
Peter NEVILL (captain)