Brad Knowles out for season with knee injury
Western Australia's fast-bowling depth will be tested immediately this summer following the news that Brad Knowles will miss the entire season with a knee injury. The Warriors will begin their 2010-11 campaign without Knowles or Steve Magoffin, who were their leading two wicket takers in the Sheffield Shield last season.
Knowles, 28, who moved from Victoria ahead of last summer, will require surgery while Magoffin also has a knee problem and will be out of action for an indefinite period. Adding to Western Australia's worries, Brett Dorey is still on the comeback trail after an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in December, although he has made his return to club cricket.
Without the experienced Ben Edmondson, who has moved to South Australia, there will be a heavy workload for Ashley Noffke, who is in his second season with the Warriors. The team will also look to the mature-aged recruit Michael Hogan, 29, who took 23 wickets in his initial first-class season last summer.
"It's shattering for Knowlesy," the vice-captain Adam Voges told ESPNcricinfo. "It looks like he'll probably miss the whole season. While Mags gets right and Brett Dorey is probably not too far away as well, that presents an opportunity for young blokes, guys like Ryan Duffield.
"He's performed really well in the few pre-season games that we've played so far. He looks like a really exciting prospect. And we've got the older guys like Noffke and Hogan, so there will be a bit more responsibility on them."
Duffield is a 22-year-old rookie left-arm fast man who has impressed during the off-season. The new coach Mickey Arthur said the absence of Knowles and Magoffin was a blow, but testing some of the younger bowlers in the Western Australia squad would not necessarily be a bad thing.
"We've unearthed a couple of younger bowlers here that are really exciting," Arthur said. "We're going to throw them in and see what they can do, which is great news. I think we need to have a little bit of a shift, we need to see some younger WA bowlers coming to the fore. They're going to get opportunities to really stake a claim."
The Warriors kick off their campaign by hosting Victoria in the new split-innings one day competition at the WACA on Friday. Their opening Sheffield Shield match, also at home against the Bushrangers, begins on Sunday.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo