Split-innings birth causes complications
The day before the new domestic split-innings tournament is due to start and Queensland's players are still waiting for their uniforms. Out on the Gabba turf there are no sponsors' logos and the competition stumps haven't arrived for Wednesday's day-nighter between Queensland and Tasmania. On the eve of the revolution of the cumbersomely named National One-Day Cup, the local officials admit to holding their collective breath.
And that's before the major issues of how the players and spectators react to the 45-over format, which will be contested over two innings of 20 overs before concluding with two 25-over segments. The change of structure has been designed by Cricket Australia to reinvigorate one-day cricket, with the hope of it being adopted internationally.
First it has to be embraced by the mostly sceptical players, who have grown to understand the need to perform whether they like the idea or not. Privately some are scathing, yet publicly they are more pragmatic. When the Twenty20 Big Bash began in 2005-06 there was general enthusiasm, especially from the young players, but this time the mood is one of confusion.
Chris Hartley, Queensland's wicketkeeper, said he has an open mind about the event. "The fact of the matter is it doesn't matter what they're playing, there are 22 guys out there and the competitive juices will start flowing and everyone will be going at it hard," he told ESPNcricinfo. "The biggest thing that has led to the confusion was not having played the format. A lot of players didn't see how the change of structure would increase interest in the game, but we're yet to play it at a full-scale level."
The Bulls have a difficult start running into Tasmania, who are well known for trialling unorthodox methods, including opening the bowling with their spinner Xavier Doherty. "They're a good team when it comes down to these tactics, and are led by George Bailey," Hartley said. "But in the first couple of games it will be really worrying about what we do. And we'll have to learn pretty quickly."
Hartley would like to think Chris Simpson, who stood down as captain last month, is Queensland's version of Doherty after an off-season spent tinkering with his off-spin. "He's an excellent slow bowler in the shorter versions of the game," Hartley said. "From behind the stumps, I think he's bowling better than he has ever."
How the local players look is still to be determined. Queensland's uniforms are due to arrive on the morning of the game and their 2009-10 kit is on standby.
Queensland James Hopes (capt), Ryan Broad, Lee Carseldine, Luke Feldman, Jason Floros, Chris Hartley (wk), Chris Lynn, Craig Philipson, Nathan Reardon, Nathan Rimmington, Chris Simpson, Chris Swan.
Tasmania George Bailey (capt), Travis Birt, Luke Butterworth, Mark Cosgrove, Ed Cowan, Xavier Doherty, Alex Doolan, Brendan Drew, James Faulkner, Brett Geeves, Jason Krejza, Rhett Lockyear, Jonathan Wells.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo