Queensland pick two debutants to face the Blues
Queensland's depleted fast-bowling stocks have been filled by three relatively untested players for the two matches against New South Wales at the Gabba this week. With Ashley Noffke (back), Michael Kasprowicz (back) and Nathan Rimmington (shoulder) out injured, the Queensland selectors named two new faces in the squad for the Pura Cup game starting on Friday.
Grant Sullivan, a right-arm fast-medium bowler, and the allrounder Chris Swan are in line to make their first-class debuts as the Bulls also battle without their internationals Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson. Sullivan plays for the Norths club and was upgraded from a rookie contract to a senior deal during the off-season.
Swan, 28, has performed strongly for Gold Coast in the district competition and scored 109 in a first-grade match against Valley two weeks ago. "It was a pretty amazing call to get," Swan said. "I reckon there could be a few more sleepless nights between now and Friday when the game starts.
"It's been a few seasons since I last played 2nd XI cricket for Queensland and with the age restrictions on that level of competition these days, I wasn't really thinking about any form of cricket other than for the Dolphins." The finger injury to Matthew Hayden, which he suffered in the Pura Cup loss to Tasmania last week, has forced a shake-up of the batting with Brendan Nash expected to open.
Sullivan has also been picked in the Ford Ranger Cup one-day side to meet the Blues on Wednesday, along with Scott Brant, the recalled left-arm swing bowler. If Brant plays it will be his first outing in Queensland colours since 2004, the year he finished a two-season stint with Essex.
Brant played 23 first-class matches and 36 domestic games before being pushed out of the starting side during the return of Andy Bichel from the national set-up. Michael Buchanan, the son of Australia's national coach John Buchanan, has retained his spot in the squad after he was 12th man for the season-opening nine-wicket victory against Tasmania.
Pura Cup squad Jimmy Maher (capt), Brendan Nash, Martin Love, Clinton Perren, Craig Philipson, Lachlan Stevens, James Hopes, Chris Swan, Chris Hartley (wk), Andy Bichel, Daniel Doran, Grant Sullivan.
FR Cup squad Jimmy Maher (capt), Brendan Nash, Clinton Perren, James Hopes, Craig Philipson, Lachlan Stevens, Michael Buchanan, Chris Hartley (wk), Andy Bichel, Chris Simpson, Grant Sullivan, Scott Brant.