Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc have been selected in the NSW Blues squad for the opening Marsh Sheffield Shield match against Queensland at the Gabba, beginning on Thursday.
Fellow Ashes tourists Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have all been rested after a heavy workload during the campaign against England.
Blues batsman Kurtis Patterson has also been ruled out as a precaution with a quad injury but is expected to play the following match against Tasmania at the SCG.
Veteran spinner Steve O’Keefe is also unavailable as he recovers from a calf injury.
WATCH: Mitchell Starc speaks at Blues training
Seamer Liam Hatcher is a chance to make his Shield debut after being rewarded for excellent Toyota Second XI form by being named in the 12-man squad.
The Blues' right-arm paceman finished with 5-41 from 16 overs to follow his first innings haul of 5-57 for NSW Metro against Western Australia last week. It was the second time Hatcher had claimed 10 wickets in a Second XI fixture.
Opening batsman Daniel Hughes has had an excellent start to the season, scoring successive centuries in the Blues’ most recent Marsh One-Day Cup matches. It follows on from his most prolific Shield season last summer when he scored 742 runs at an average of 39.
Hughes is the leading run-scorer in the Marsh One-Day Cup this season after four matches with exactly 300 runs at an average of 100.
Veteran seamer Trent Copeland, the leading wicket-taker in Shield cricket last season, warmed up for the match against Queensland by claiming 5-21 for St George against Bankstown in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket last Saturday.
The Blues are looking to continue their improvement after making the Shield final last season.
NSW Blues squad
v Queensland, Gabba,
Marsh Sheffield Shield, Round 1, starting Thursday
Live streamed at cricket.com.au
Peter NEVILL (captain)