New South Wales Blues head coach Phil Jaques believes that Kurtis Patterson will bring extra confidence to the team following a strong beginning to his Test career.
The Blues return to JLT Sheffield Shield cricket against Western Australia at Bankstown Oval, beginning on Saturday.
Patterson will resume his Shield season after making his Test debut for Australia against Sri Lanka earlier this year, later scoring a maiden Test century in Canberra.
Jaques believes Patterson’s ability to transfer his Shield form onto the international stage will give other players in his squad confidence that their performances will also be rewarded.
“I think it gives an idea of just how close you can really be to playing for your country,” Jaques explained.
“Kurtis has been a good performer for a long period of time, but it’s been a real breakout year for him.
“A lot of players will get confidence out of that.”
The Blues currently sit second on the ladder with two wins and three draws from their opening six games, with four matches remaining in the season.
With only four points separating second and fifth on the ladder, Jaques is aware his players will need to quickly rediscover their red-ball form if a Shield final is to be a possibility.
“There is a real hunger within the group to do well, which is great to see,” Jaques said.
“We’re in a decent position on the ladder, coming second, but the difference between second and fifth is very, very tight.
“We know how important every game is, we will be looking to start well, hopefully get some momentum and carry on from where we were just before Christmas.”
The Blues return to Bankstown for the first time in three years, with Jaques complimentary of Bankstown Oval as a Shield venue.
“Bankstown Oval, there are always going to be great facilities there,” he said.
“They always look after us and it should be a really good four days.”
JLT Sheffield Shield
New South Wales Blues v. Western Australia
Round 7, Bankstown Oval, 23-26 February.
Play starts at 10.30AM