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New South Wales Sheffield Shield Preview 2022/23

Last Season: 4th

Prediction: 5th

Welcome to the first Sheffield Shield preview for the 2022/23 season, this one for the NSW Blues. At their best, no side is better but due to so many players having international commitments, the majority across multiple formats, they lack enough talent to properly compete when they are out and the loss of Conway and Neville will hurt in that aspect. However, Lyon will play a lot of games and they have some bowling depth. Their batting depth is what worries me more plus their keeping situation. Can they win enough games to make the final and challenge whoever it is that makes it, I do not think so but if they can make the final, they will be very hard to beat.

These XI predictions are not so much predictions, but rather if I were the selector, how I would select the XI.

Full Strength Side

1. David Warner (Bat)*

2. Daniel Hughes (Bat)

3. Steve Smith (Bat)*

4. Kurtis Patterson (Bat)

5. Moises Henriques (Bat-AR)

6. Baxter Holt/Matthew Gilkes (WK)

7. Sean Abbott (Bowl-AR)

8. Mitchell Starc (Bowl)*

9. Pat Cummins (Bowl)*

10. Nathan Lyon (Bowl)*

11. Josh Hazlewood (Bowl)*

At full strength, this is an international standard side, one of the two in the nation (WA the other). Warner and Hughes pick themselves. So does Smith at 3 and Patterson at 4. An argument could be made for Sangha over Henriques but Henriques has been a super consistent player for so long and should be ready to go this year. The only weak spot in their side is their keeper. It is the worst of all 6 states by some margin (wonder if Philippe makes the move in 2023/24. Baxter Holt is handy with the gloves but not a great bat whereas Gilkes is a far better bat but not very good with the gloves at all. Because they bat so strongly in the top 5 and have a tail that can wag, I will elect for Baxter Holt to be the keeper. Sean Abbott could be considered a genuine all-rounder a this point and may also find his way into the Australian side being so dominant at the domestic scene across all 3 formats for some time now. The four leading bowlers is just our test attack.

Side without the Aussie Talent

1. Ryan Hackney (Bat)

2. Daniel Hughes (Bat)

3. Kurtis Patterson (Bat)

4. Jason Sangha (Bat)

5. Moises Henriques (Bat-AR)

6. Hayden Kerr (AR)

7. Baxter Holt/Matthew Gilkes (WK)

8. Sean Abbott (Bowl-AR)

9. Chris Tremain (Bowl)

10. Trent Copeland (Bowl)

11. Tanveer Sangha (Bowl)[Will miss 1st half of season]

Ryan Hackney comes into open for David Warner, a severe downgrade. You could elect to open Matthew Gilkes but he does not go that well. Blake Nikitaras would also be in the mix for this. Daniel Hughes may be selected in the ODI or Test squads but at least for the latter, he will be replacing Warner which is why even though he is in the mix, I believe only one of him and Warner will be playing for Australia at any given point in time. Jason Sangha comes in who is likely a future test player for Australia. Hayden Kerr will bat 6. I do not think a player has impressed me more in the last 12 months. His BBL and Shield form was excellent. Jack Edwards could play either alongside him by dropping either a bowler or a batter. Sean Abbott (alongside Michael Neser) would be the the most likely player to play for Australia this summer but I feel he will be spending most of his time at this level. Chris Tremain is a terrific back up bowler, as is Trent Copeland (could be the one you add Edwards for). Tanveer Sangha is an incredibly promising young spinner but will miss the first half of the year but Lyon will play a fair chunk of that. While he is out (unless Zampa is available) I would bat Edwards at 6 and move everyone down one.

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