NSW Blues rookie wicketkeeper-batsman Baxter Holt is set to make his First Class debut against Tasmania in the must-win final round of the JLT Sheffield Shield at Blundstone Arena starting Wednesday.
The Australian Under 19 representative has been selected to replace Blues captain and wicketkeeper Peter Nevill who has not travelled to Hobart due to the expected birth of his first child.
Holt is one of 13 players chosen in the Blues squad for the fixture, including two other potential debutants, batsman Nick Bertus, 25, and fast bowler Liam Hatcher, 22.
Due to the absence of Nevill, recent Australian Test debutant Kurtis Patterson will captain the Blues for the first time in the Sheffield Shield.
Left-arm finger spinner Stephen O’Keefe will also miss the match due to hamstring soreness that he experienced during the 63-run loss to Victoria last round.
The Blues must win the match at Blundstone Arena to guarantee a place in the Sheffield Shield final against Victoria at Junction Oval starting March 28.
NSW currently sits in second place on the Shield table less than two points clear of Western Australia.
During late January, Holt made his Big Bash League debut for the Sydney Thunder against the eventual champions, Melbourne Renegades, at Docklands Stadium.
The man he replaces posted 5,000 First class runs in the loss to Victoria at Drummoyne Oval. Nevill has now scored 5,036 runs at 38.15.
Holt said the debut will cap off a massive year in his young career to date.
“Futures (League), Australian Under 19s and bit of the Big Bash as well … the experience I’ve gained out of that has been phenomenal and I’ve been very lucky to bat as well as I have this year and keep as well as I have been,” said Holt.
During the 2018/19 Toyota Futures League, Holt made 310 runs from five matches for NSW Metro at an average of 51.67. This included his maiden century of 151 against Western Australia at the WACA Ground.
He claimed 10 catches and one stumping behind the wicket.
In early January, Holt travelled to Sri Lanka with the Australian Under 19s where he passed 50 twice, from three visits to the crease, across the three Youth One-Day Internationals and one-off Youth Test.
Holt also completed eight catches and two stumpings on that tour.
He earned selection in that squad on the back of a superb performance at the Under 19 National Championships for NSW Metro. Holt made 333 runs at 55.5 including two centuries.
The rookie keeper said Nevill had contacted him to wish him all the best for his debut.
“(He said) make the most of your opportunity and really enjoy the experience.”
NSW Blues squad
Kurtis PATTERSON ( c )
*12th man to be named at the toss.
Tasmania v. NSW Blues
JLT Sheffield Shield
Round 10, Blundstone Arena, Hobart
20-23 March 2019
Live streamed cricket.com.au