By EDWARD BOURKE
Some Australian stars will make a rapid return to domestic cricket as a revamped Marsh One Day Cup begins this afternoon in Perth.
The tournament, now named for an insurance-broking company who acquired previous naming rights holders JLT (not the famous cricketing family), is set to feature World Cup stars Aaron Finch, Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell on its opening weekend.
Ashes squad members Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Bancroft and Michael Neser have also been named to play after a short turnaround from the final test match, which ended on Monday.
This year’s edition of the limited-overs tournament will be played in several blocks of games, running concurrently with the Sheffield Shield during October and November, after Cricket Australia altered the competition structure following criticism from current and former players.
MOJO sports editor Edward Bourke assesses each state’s chances at the title ahead of the competition’s opening weekend.
Likely XI: Aaron Finch, Nic Maddinson, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb (c,wk), Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Short, Will Sutherland, Chris Tremain, Scott Boland, Jackson Coleman, Jon Holland. Reserves: Travis Dean, Andrew Fekete, Sam Harper, Mackenzie Harvey
Player to Watch: Will Pucovski will bat in the Vics’ top 3, with the chance to bat deep into the innings as an anchoring player while the likes of Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell play more aggressively. The 21 year-old is primed for a huge summer after impressing for Australia A on its UK tour in July.
How They Can Win: The reigning champions’ intimidating top six simply needs support from the bowlers. Jackson Coleman and Will Sutherland impressed last season with the ball, but more will be required from leaders Chris Tremain (9 wickets at 30.22 last season), and Scott Boland (3 wickets at 80) if the Vics want to match it with the explosive WA and Queensland batting line-ups.
Likely XI: Ben McDermott, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran (wk), Jordan Silk (c), George Bailey, Beau Webster, Jarrod Freeman, James Faulkner, Gurinder Sandhu, Jackson Bird, Riley Meredith. Reserves: Caleb Jewell, Alex Pyecroft, Nathan Ellis
How They Can Win: With Matthew Wade and Tim Paine set to return later in the tournament, Tasmania can also assemble an imposing top six. To win early on they will need Ben McDermott to continue with his form from last season (427 runs at 71.16), while last season’s joint leading wicket-taker Gurinder Sandhu and Jackson Bird must make early strikes with the new ball.
Player to Watch: Still only 29, James Faulkner has plenty of time to rediscover his best form. Named in Tasmania’s one-day side for the first time since October 2017, the bustling left-arm seamer will set his sights on next summer’s T20 World Cup if he can fire with bat and ball.
Likely XI: D’Arcy Short, Cameron Bancroft, Shaun Marsh, Hilton Cartwright, Ashton Turner (c), Marcus Stoinis, Josh Philippe (wk), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson. Reserves: Matt Kelly, Cameron Green.
How They Can Win: Boasting a squad brimming with talent (and still with Mitch Marsh and Jason Behrendorff to return), WA just need to strike the right balance with their XI. They have the option of opening with the aggressive Josh Philippe, and will want to maximise captain Ashton Turner’s impact in the middle order. Matt Kelly will likely miss out early on due to WA’s incredible pace stocks but his ability to land yorkers at the death could be important.
Player to Watch: D’Arcy Short’s incredible 257 at Hurstville Oval last season will likely never be repeated (the tiny ground will not be seen in this year’s tournament), but the destructive left-hander will again be out to wreak havoc as he targets David Warner’s opening slot in the ODI team for this summer.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Likely XI: Daniel Hughes, Jack Edwards, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques (c), Nick Bertus, Daniel Sams, Peter Nevill (wk), Arjun Nair, Sean Abbott, Harry Conway, Mickey Edwards. Reserves: Matthew Gilkes, Nathan McAndrew, Liam Hatcher.
How They Can Win: Depleted until their plethora of Australian team stars return, NSW will need senior members Daniel Hughes and Sean Abbott to stand up, and a youngster like Nick Bertus or Matthew Gilkes to fire in the middle order, if they are to compete with the best in this tournament.
Player to Watch: Jack Edwards is likely to get an opportunity at the top of the order before Warner returns, and will be eager to build on his stellar debut tournament, where made 273 runs at 54.60 including a brilliant century against Queensland, which made him the youngest man to make a hundred in the history of Australia’s one-day competition.
Likely XI: Joe Burns, Max Bryant, Marnus Labuschagne, Matt Renshaw, Sam Heazlett, Jimmy Peirson (c,wk), Jack Wildermuth, Michael Neser, Mark Steketee, Matthew Kuhnemann, Billy Stanlake. Reserves: Charlie Hemphrey, Cameron Gannon, Xavier Bartlett.
How They Can Win: Queensland may not have the potential for rapid acceleration later in the innings to the same extent as WA and Victoria, but if their well-balanced opening pair of Joe Burns and Max Bryant can regularly fire, they have the bowling to put teams under the pump. Star batsman Usman Khawaja will also enter the mix later in the tournament.
Player to Watch: Jack Wildermuth has been labelled by coach Wade Seccombe as “the best allrounder in Australia”, and the 26-year-old will be out to show he can perform in the 50-over format. Only averages 11 with the bat in his 14 List A matches, but his first-class record is impressive.
Likely XI: Jake Weatherald, Alex Carey (wk), Callum Ferguson, Jake Lehmann (c), Tom Cooper, Alex Ross, Cameron Valente, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Joe Mennie, Luke Robins. Reserves: Lloyd Pope, Wes Agar, Harry Nielsen.
How They Can Win: A settled side with plenty of international limited overs experience, the Redbacks will look to openers Carey and Jake Weatherald to pile on the runs, with Travis Head to join them after the opening weekend. Adam Zampa will have to return to his best for SA after a disappointing World Cup campaign, with little seam-bowling depth forcing the Redbacks to play at least one spinner.
Player to Watch: Alex Carey was sensational in Australia’s middle order at the World Cup, displaying brilliant versatility in either batting Australia out of trouble or finishing the innings, finishing with 375 runs at 62.50. Carey will be out to score some big hundreds and lay a claim to the national side keeping spot in all three formats.
MARSH ONE DAY CUP FIXTURES (FIRST ROUND)
September 21: Western Australia vs Victoria, WACA Ground
September 22: Queensland vs New South Wales, Allan Border Field
September 23: Victoria vs Tasmania, WACA Ground
September 24: Queensland vs South Australia, Allan Border Field
September 25: Western Australia vs Tasmania, WACA Ground
September 26: New South Wales vs South Australia, Allan Border Field