David Warner’s comeback from a fractured thumb has been confirmed after he was named in the New South Wales squad for the opening round of the Sheffield Shield campaign this week. The first round begins on Wednesday with day-night matches using pink balls in Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart, and several Test contenders will be keen to impress the selectors ahead of the Gabba Test.
Warner’s main aim will be to prove he has completely recovered from the thumb fracture he suffered during the one-day series against England in September, and which ruled him out of the Test tour of Bangladesh that was subsequently cancelled. If Warner comes through the Shield match unscathed, he will still be in need of a new opening partner after the retirement of Chris Rogers.
Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja will continue their auditions for that role – they both scored centuries against New Zealand for the Cricket Australia XI on Saturday – when they turn out for Queensland against Victoria at the MCG. In Hobart, Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh will aim to press their claims when they play for Western Australia against Tasmania.
The New South Wales squad for their match against South Australia in Adelaide features six players likely to take part in the first Test against New Zealand, and will be led by captain Steven Smith. Such is the strength of their line-up that Gurinder Sandhu and Ryan Carters have been squeezed out and will instead play for the CA XI in a three-day tour game against New Zealand at Blacktown.
Mitchell Johnson will make a rare Shield appearance for Western Australia, but the Warriors will be without fellow fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, who is set to be sidelined for three to four weeks due to a shoulder injury. Coulter-Nile hurt his left shoulder during a training session ahead of Western Australia’s final Matador Cup match.
Queensland have named Scott Henry, the former New South Wales opening batsman, in their squad and he could be set to play his first game for the Bulls having moved to Brisbane during the winter. Queensland will also celebrate the 100th first-class match of former captain James Hopes.
New South Wales squad Steven Smith (capt), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ed Cowan, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Steve O’Keefe, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.
Queensland squad Usman Khawaja (capt), Cameron Boyce, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Peter George, Chris Hartley, Scott Henry, James Hopes, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Reardon, Mark Steketee, Jack Wildermuth.
Western Australia squad Adam Voges (capt), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Marcus Harris, Michael Hogan, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Klinger, Simon Mackin, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joel Paris, Sam Whiteman.
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