Sheffield Shield previews, squads 2023-24: Western Australia eye hat-trick, who can challenge them?

New South Wales

Squad Sean Abbott (CA), Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins (CA), Joel Davies (R), Oliver Davies, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Ryan Hackney, Ryan Hadley, Liam Hatcher, Josh Hazlewood (CA), Moises Henriques, Baxter Holt, Daniel Hughes, Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon (CA), Blake Macdonald, Blake Nikitaras, Jack Nisbet (R), Kurtis Patterson, Ross Pawson, Will Salzmann (R), Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Lachlan Shaw (R), Steven Smith (CA), Mitchell Starc (CA), Chris Tremain, Hunar Verma (R), David Warner (CA), Adam Zampa (CA)

CA = Cricket Australia contract | R = Rookie contract

In Jackson Bird, Joel Davies, Chris Green, Blake Macdonald, Ross Pawson
Out Trent Copeland, Liam Doddrell, Mickey Edwards, Lachlan Hearne, Daniel Sams

How they shape up

The only way is up after a winless campaign last season, for the first time in 84 years, which left them bottom of the table. Change was already afoot before that campaign was over with Phil Jaques sacked and captain Kurtis Patterson dropped. Greg Shipperd, a coaching doyen in Australian cricket, is back in charge while Moises Henriques is the permanent replacement for Patterson. NSW need Patterson to rediscover his run-scoring; overall there were just four centuries in the Shield last season. Jackson Bird will add experience to the attack but it’s time some of the younger players stand up to avoid further talk that the talent pipeline in the state, at least when it comes to four-day cricket, is drying up.

Player to watch

Jason Sangha, who first made a mark when he took a century off England in just his second first-class match in 2017, is one of those young batters NSW will need to start seeing more from. At 24 he still has time on his side, but last season he averaged 28.14 with a best of 54, a significant decline on the previous season where he topped 500 runs, and after 34 matches his overall first-class return is under 30.

Australia radar

As usual, there will be mass absences, compounded this season by the ODI World Cup during the first two months of the season, but NSW are used to it. However, they should see a good amount of Nathan Lyon as he returns from the calf injury that ended his Ashes tour. They will hope to get at least five Shield games out of him before the Tests. There is a chance some of the other Test players could squeeze in a game before the Pakistan series. Adam Zampa could be available in the latter part of the season.


Squad Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Max Bryant, Hugo Burdon (R), Joe Burns, Jack Clayton, Blake Edwards, Liam Guthrie, Aryan Jain, Usman Khawaja (CA), Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne (CA), Ben McDermott, Michael Neser (CA), Jimmy Peirson, Will Prestwidge (R), Matthew Renshaw, Gurinder Sandhu, Jack Sinfield (R), Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Connor Sully, Mitch Swepson, Hugh Weibgen (R), Tom Whitney (R), Jack Wildermuth

In Ben McDermott, Aryan Jain, Hugh Weibgen, Tom Whitney
Out Kane Richardson, Sam Heazlett, Sam Truloff, Matthew Willans

How they shape up

They were in touch throughout last season but were ultimately pipped in the finals race by Victoria’s surge, who handed them a costly defeat after the BBL. They have a stable squad that should again be a title contender with Ben McDermott‘s arrival from Tasmania potentially adding further depth to the top order if he can bounce back from average just 18.30 last summer.

Their bowling attack looks solid and one of the interesting decisions will be how they use Mitch Swepson and Matt Kuhnemann with the Gabba, especially, rarely a two-spinner venue

Player to watch

It’s been a challenging 12 months for Mitchell Swepson after cracking into the Test side the season before. He averaged 39.66 in the Shield last summer, was selected for India but did not feature in the series then lost his CA central contract. He had a four-game stint with Glamorgan that brought 14 wickets, albeit at considerable cost but has remained around the Australia A set-up. He took eight wickets in two games in New Zealand and started with three more in Brisbane last month, before registering 0 for 119 in the second innings. Domestically he may not be an automatic pick in the Shield if Kuhnemann’s form warrants selection and Australia does not have another subcontinent tour until early 2025.

Australia radar

Marnus Labuschagne’s late move into the World Cup squad means he won’t be seen much in the first half of the season, but Usman Khawaja should be around ahead of the Test matches. Matt Renshaw will hope to push for David Warner’s spot at the top of the order. Michael Neser seems destined to forever be a reserve for Australia. Kuhnemann and Swepson are unlikely to be needed on home soil barring a spate of injuries.

South Australia

Squad Wes Agar, Kyle Brazell (R), Jordan Buckingham, Aidan Cahill (R), Jake Carder, Alex Carey (CA), Harry Conway, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Jake Fraser-McGurk, David Grant, Travis Head (CA), Isaac Higgins (R), Henry Hunt, Thomas Kelly, Jake Lehmann, Ben Manenti, Harry Matthias (R), Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Harry Nielsen, Lloyd Pope, Liam Scott, Henry Thornton, Spencer Johnson, Kelvin Smith

In Jake Fraser-McGurk, Kelvin Smith
Out Jake Weatherald (Tasmania), Bailey Capel, Ryan King, Nick Winter

How they shape up

Signs of improvement last season as back-to-back wins either side of the BBL helped them finish mid-table, although the campaign closed with two defeats and a draw. Earlier this year, coach Jason Gillespie lauded his pace attack as the best in the country and the group of Spencer Johnson, Nathan McAndrew, Wes Agar and Jordan Buckingham can certainly be potent, backed up by Brendan Doggett and Henry Thornton.

Ben Manenti carried the spin bowling, but a lot of faith is being shown in Lloyd Pope even though he did not play a game last season. Jake Lehmann has taken on the captaincy and will need to average more than the 31.23 he managed in 2022-23.

Player to watch

Could easily pick out one of the impressive quicks, but it will be worth tracking Henry Hunt as he looks to bounce back from an underwhelming season. After starting with a defiant 97 not out off 326 balls to secure a draw against Victoria, he averaged 25.94 to slip down the pecking order of potential further Australia openers after three centuries in 2021-22 plus another in Sri Lanka for Australia A. He relinquished the captaincy before the end of the summer having struggled to combine his two roles and did not feature for Australia A against New Zealand A.

Australia radar

Travis Head and Alex Carey are part of the World Cup squad so may, at most, get one Shield outing before the Test summer. Johnson, who has returned from India with a hamstring injury, is on the selectors’ radar across all formats. It’s unlikely anyone else will be required for national duty, but Thornton, Agar, Buckingham and Nathan McSweeney have been around the A-team set-up.


Squad Gabe Bell, Iain Carlisle, Nick Davis (R), Paddy Dooley, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, Jarrod Freeman, Brad Hope, Caleb Jewell, Riley Meredith, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Mitch Owen, Nivethan Radhakrishnan (R), Sam Rainbird, Jordan Silk, Billy Stanlake, Matthew Wade, Charlie Wakim, Tim Ward, Jake Weatherald, Beau Webster, Mac Wright

In Paddy Dooley, Jake Weatherald
Out Tom Andrews, Jackson Bird (NSW), Ben McDermott (Queensland), Peter Siddle (Victoria)

How they shape up

Tasmania have made significant list changes as they look to rebuild their attack with Jackson Bird and Peter Siddle both departing to completely change the age profile of the squad. They only won two games last year and finished second-last having narrowly missed the final in 2021-22. Their bowling lacked penetration, as they conceded nine 300-plus scores last season, more than any other team. With their best two bowlers from last season having departed, much of the load will fall on the likes of Riley Meredith, Sam Rainbird, Gabe Bell, Lawrence Neil-Smith and Nathan Ellis, when he is not playing white-ball cricket.

Billy Stanlake could also return to the first-class ranks after two years out. Left-arm orthodox white-ball specialist Paddy Dooley has been added to the squad and could play a role. The batting has been strengthened. They already possess an Australia A opening combination in Caleb Jewell and Tim Ward. Jake Weatherald joins the squad and may get an opportunity to bat in a different position having been a long-time opener for South Australia.

Player to watch

Caleb Jewell has made a name for himself over the last two years as a potential international player and has only enhanced his reputation with his performances for Australia A this year, including a stunning century in the recent series against New Zealand A.

That has vaulted him into the conversation as a possible long-term Test match opener. Prior to the A series, he appeared to be behind Harris, Renshaw and Bancroft in the pecking order but that gap has closed. A fast start to the summer and some big scores, especially on the always challenging early-season Bellerive Oval surface, will only help his cause.

Australia radar

Aside from Jewell, Ward is another who is popular with the selectors having played in the last two Australia A series, and could also put himself in the mix as a Test candidate. Meredith is always a player of interest to the national selectors when he is fit and he started the Marsh Cup season with a lightning spell of bowling at the Junction Oval. His red-ball bowling has long been a work in progress, but his raw pace and skill make him an attractive player to the selectors.


Squad Liam Blackford (R), Scott Boland (CA), Dylan Brasher (R), Ashley Chandrasinghe, Xavier Crone, Travis Dean, Sam Elliott, Matt Fotia, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris (CA), Campbell Kellaway, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell (CA), Cameron McClure, Jono Merlo, Todd Murphy (CA), Tom O’Donnell, Fergus O’Neill, Wil Parker, Mitch Perry, Will Pucovski, Tom Rogers, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Will Sutherland, Douglas Warran (R)

In Peter Siddle, Matt Fotia, Tom O’Donnell, Tom Rogers, Liam Blackford, Dylan Brasher, Douglas Warren
Out Aaron Finch (retired), Jake Fraser-McGurk (South Australia), Brody Couch, Zak Evans, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Tom O’Connell

How they shape up

Victoria surprised even themselves by making back-to-back finals with a young squad but they feel they are ready to take the next step. Last year they lost to Western Australia, unable to win the key moments with bat and ball in the decider. But a year older and wiser they look like they have all the pieces in place.

They will play under a new captain with Will Sutherland taking over the Shield captaincy from Peter Handscomb. The return of Will Pucovski will strengthen the top-order batting significantly and the attack will be well-balanced with Scott Boland available for most of the first part of the season.

They have added Peter Siddle to fill in when he is rested. Sutherland, Mitch Perry and Fergus O’Neill are all fit and ready for a full season while Todd Murphy will be a banker as their No. 1 spinner.

Player to watch

Marcus Harris is the player who has both the most to gain out of the first half of the season and the most to lose. He appears to be next cab off the rank to be the Test match opener whenever David Warner finishes.

He does not have much to prove at domestic level but some big early scores, particularly at the WACA and the Gabba could actually put pressure on the national selectors to move Warner on earlier. Conversely, if Harris has a lean early season run, which can happen as an opening bat, the likes of Renshaw, Bancroft and Jewell will all be pressing their case to be next cab off the rank.

Australia radar

Victoria have a good contingent of players on the fringes off the Test team with Harris, Boland and Murphy all touring England with the Ashes squad. Handscomb did not make the Ashes squad despite playing very well on the tour of India and he is keen to prove he is not just a subcontinent specialist.

Sutherland’s stocks continue to rise as both a leader and a player. Australia’s allrounder resources are flush at the moment but if Sutherland can improve his long-form batting after a maiden first-class century last season and 83 in the final, he can elevate his standing even further. Pucovski always remains a player of interest, but Australia’s selectors are set to be very patient with him and let him try and get some continuity at domestic level for a season or two.

Western Australia

Captain Mitchell Marsh
Coach Adam Voges

Squad Ashton Agar (CA), Cameron Bancroft, Mahli Beardman (R), Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Cooper Connolly, Sam Fanning, Cameron Gannon, Jayden Goodwin (R), Cameron Green (CA), Sam Greer (R), Aaron Hardie, Liam Haskett, Josh Inglis (CA), Bryce Jackson, Matt Kelly, Mitchell Marsh (CA), Hamish McKenzie, Lance Morris (CA), Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson (CA), Corey Rocchiccioli, D’Arcy Short, Charlie Stobo, Marcus Stoinis (CA), Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Josh Vernon (R), Sam Whiteman, Teague Wyllie

In Liam Haskett, Mahli Beardman, Josh Vernon
Out Shaun Marsh (retired), David Moody

How they shape up

WA are chasing a rare Shield hat-trick. It has only happened three times since 1977-78 when it became a six-team competition. They are in strong shape to do it with the squad hardly changing from last season. Shaun Marsh has retired but he only managed to play one game last season. WA’s major challenge will be managing their fast bowling and the coming and going of international players.

Jhye Richardson‘s availability is going to be limited early in the season coming off hamstring surgery. Lance Morris will also be carefully managed and could be involved in the Test squad at times. Joel Paris tweaked his hamstring playing for Australia A while Hilton Cartwright is coming off knee surgery. But the core of the group remains strong with a new young left-arm quick Liam Haskett set to be an exciting addition.

Player to watch

All eyes will be on Cameron Bancroft at the start of the summer. He appears to be a few positions back in the queue in the race to be Australia’s next Test opener. He missed out in the recent Australia A series with Jewell throwing his hat in the ring alongside established candidates Harris and Renshaw. But Bancroft has scored more Shield hundreds (six) than any of them in the last 18 months. If he adds more in the first six rounds he can put a lot of pressure on Australia’s selectors for a recall.

Australia radar

Aside from Bancroft, Morris is the one that looms largest on Australia’s radar. He will be carefully managed through the first six rounds of the Shield season to ensure he is fully fit for the Pakistan Test series, as he may be in line for a Test debut if any of Australia’s established Test quicks get injured at the World Cup.

Richardson will be monitored closely. If he can get back up and running and play consistently without injury, then Australia’s selectors will come calling. Josh Inglis is the other one who can push his Test credentials if he can ever play a game for WA when he’s not with Australia’s white-ball teams.

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