Victoria seek elusive one-day title
Victoria will on Friday begin their quest for the one title that has escaped them in recent seasons, as they kick off their Ryobi Cup campaign in Perth. However, they will be without their star opener Chris Rogers, who returned from the county season with a knee-cartilage injury and will be rested for at least the first game.
The Bushrangers have won the past two Sheffield Shields and four out of five Big Bash titles, but have made the past four one-day finals only to lose every time. The new split-innings format made its debut at the Gabba on Wednesday, and Victoria's captain Cameron White is keen to master the concept as early as possible.
"It's the one that's eluded us over the last couple of years," White said of the limited-overs competition. "It's an exciting new format, with some good little changes in there. It's something to look forward to - a bit more innovation and tactics, a game within itself, almost."
The Victorians have named two potential one-day debutants to take on Western Australia, with their backup wicketkeeper Ryan Carters included as a specialist batsman. The promising allrounder Will Sheridan has also been selected in a group that boasts plenty of experience at the top of the order.
But their Sheffield Shield batting line-up could look a little different this season, following the mid-season retirement of Brad Hodge from first-class cricket last summer. The veteran opener Nick Jewell might still be in the mix despite giving up his state contract, and the Bushrangers are hoping that Aaron Finch will step up as a first-class performer.
"Finch has played half a dozen games now, so we're looking to him to take over that pivotal No. 3 role," David Hussey told ESPNcricinfo. "Hopefully he's got a big future ahead, not only with Victoria but with Australian cricket as well. It's a bit of a transition, if Nick doesn't play and without Brad Hodge. We've got experience with a new blend of youth."
For the Ryobi Cup match, the Warriors have named the fast bowler Brett Dorey, who had been under an injury cloud leading in to the season after a long lay-off due to an Achilles tendon problem. Their squad also includes the uncapped batsman Tom Beaton and the spinner Michael Beer, who moved from Victoria during the off-season and could debut against his former state.
Victoria squad Brad Hodge, Aaron Finch, David Hussey, Cameron White (capt), Andrew McDonald, Ryan Carters, Matthew Wade (wk), John Hastings, Will Sheridan, Clint McKay, Peter Siddle, Shane Harwood, Bryce McGain.
Western Australia squad Shaun Marsh, Liam Davis, Wes Robinson, Adam Voges (capt), Luke Pomersbach, Tom Beaton, Mitchell Marsh, Luke Ronchi (wk), Ashley Noffke, Aaron Heal, Michael Beer, Brett Dorey, Michael Hogan.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo