Australia news October 22, 2012

Shield matches moved to ease Test preparation


Michael Hussey, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting and Ben Hilfenhaus will be among the beneficiaries in Australia's Test team after the decision to move two Sheffield Shield fixtures forward by a day to allow extra time to prepare for the start of the South Africa series.

The elimination of the Perth Scorchers from the Twenty20 Champions League allowed Victoria's match against Western Australia at the MCG to be shuffled forward from November 2 to November 1, while Tasmania's Bellerive encounter with South Australia had already been slated to make the same move. A domestic limited overs match between the teams has also moved, to Tuesday, October 30.

Siddle and Pattinson will turn out for Victoria, while Hussey is expected to be named for the Warriors, having already returned home from the CLT20 for personal reasons. Chennai's early exit also means Ben Hilfenhaus will be available to join Ponting in the Tasmania side to face the Redbacks - an important outing for the swing bowler given it will be his first non-T20 match since the West Indies Test tour in April.

The only match of the last Shield round before the first Test at the Gabba not to be moved is Queensland's match against New South Wales at Allan Border Field. This game might also have been shifted had the Sydney Sixers been eliminated from the CLT20, but their progress has prevented such a change.

Nevertheless, the NSW and Queensland selectors will be able to nominate replacement players for the final day of the game, and the players' presence in Brisbane prevents the need for any travel time between the end of the Shield game and the start of Test training at the Gabba. The first Test squad will be announced in advance of this round of matches.

Pat Howard, the Cricket Australia team performance manager, had flagged these changes last week in explaining how the team performance hierarchy was doing all it could to prepare players for the Tests while still having the squad assembled in Brisbane on the Monday of Test match week.

"Results at the Champions League Twenty20 have enabled us to move these matches and while we would've liked to move the match between Queensland and NSW as well, that hasn't been possible due to the Sydney Sixers' good performances," Howard said.

"Any player playing in that Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and NSW who is selected in the first Test squad will leave on Sunday and the state will be permitted a replacement player. NSW and Queensland will obviously know how this may affect their selection once the squad for the first Test is announced later this month.

"These changes have been adapted to give those players selected in the squad for the first Test the best preparation we can."

An Australia A fixture has also been scheduled for November 2-4 in Sydney against the South Africa tourists, with some members of the Test squad likely to be chosen for this match. The opening batsmen Ed Cowan and David Warner may be among those considered.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on October 24, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Short form series again blotch both the start of the SS season & our Test preparations... When will CA get it right?... Seems to be a perennial issue in recent times & about time we took a serious look at improving this poorly organized scheduling... How can we ever compare Test players to SS players if they are not all playing in the same matches?...

  • Andrew on October 24, 2012, 0:22 GMT

    @Dashgar on (October 23 2012, 14:47 PM GMT) - that's a good line up. Good one re: Finch, I should of selected him too!

  • Tim on October 23, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    ODI side minus test players: Finch, Paine, D Hussey, Bailey, Ferguson, Maxwell, Marsh, Hastings, McKay, Doherty, McDermott. I think that team would actually be really competitive and push our current full strength side.

  • Andrew on October 23, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    @Beertjie on (October 23 2012, 09:48 AM GMT) - I have every confidence that Howard will see the potential conflict & do something about it, whether he has the clout to do what ultimately needs to be done, (send an ODI side minus Test players, which won't make the BCCI happy) is another matter! An ODI side minus Test (current probables) stars could be (for the India ODI tour); 1. Hughes, 2. Khawaja 3. Ferguson, 4. White, 5. D Hussey, 6. Bailey (c) 7. Paine/Hartley 8. SO'K, 9 Coulter-Nile 10. Bollinger 11. McDermott with MMarsh, Doherty & McDonald. Could have Maddinson or Davis instead of Hughes if he was close to selection for the Ashes.

  • Mashuq on October 23, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    Way to go @ c_Marsh_b_Lillee and @Meety on (October 22 2012, 23:47 PM GMT)! Number one ranking in ODIs and T20s are meaningless: it's the World Cups that are "significant"! So why do we stress over sending our test players on such tours when they are needed for us to become #1 in tests?

  • Kuldeep on October 23, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    Very sensible, Test cricket should get the top priority unlike T20 overkill. This is the reason Australia has stayed at number 1.

  • Andrew on October 22, 2012, 23:51 GMT

    @CoorparooMaverick on (October 22 2012, 22:55 PM GMT) - I'm really worried about how we will go at the next home Ashes as we are again scheduled to be overseas in India in the month leading up to the Ashes. Unless we send an ODI specific team over to India, we are going to have the same problems (if not worse) as we are having right now. The only good thing about the moment is, the Saffas are in a similar boat.

  • Andrew on October 22, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    @mikey76 on (October 22 2012, 16:10 PM GMT) - fine for you to think that. But given we had bowlers being injured in India, then gaining injuries during the season & in fact our best days were in the 3rd test in Perth & the fact that most of the England players had played more FC cricket & had more time in Oz in the month leasing up to the Ashes would suggest we lost home advantage. Our batsmen (barring one Hussey & Haddin partnership at the Gabba) - never adjusted from the slow/low Indian strips to Oz. Then on top of that (with all due respect to SL fans), we played a meaningless ODI series in the weeks leading up to the Ashes. In the end of the day England won the series fair & square - none of my whinges takes anything away from that, I am just saying significant factors in the loss were self-inflicted by Cric Oz.

  • django on October 22, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    Good move. It can only help us. This is an opportunity to take number 1. They dont come around that often these days.

  • Evan on October 22, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    Nice start but how about all players playing a minimum of 2 full shield games before they start playing the test for our summer series. seems our test preparation for our home series' is rates extremely low in place of irrelevant T20 comps. how can a comp involving provincial teams be more important to test players than preparing for a test?

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