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February 27, 2006
Greg Blewett's first-class future is hazy after he was dropped by South Australia for their crucial Pura Cup clash against Western Australia in Perth from Friday. The Redbacks, who experienced a nerve-wracking one-wicket ING Cup loss yesterday, need strong performances in their final two games to move from equal third into a finals position, and they will make their attempt without their second-most experienced batsman.
Blewett, who played 46 Tests, has struggled this season with a thigh injury and has scored only 270 runs at 24.54 in seven games. He joins Ben Cameron and Cullen Bailey, the legspinner who was not expected to have impact at the WACA, on the casualty list.
"I am obviously disappointed not to be selected, but understand the reasons why I was omitted," Blewett said. "I am looking forward to getting back to club cricket and getting plenty of runs for Kensington."
Daniel Harris and Shane Deitz have been recalled after impressive grade performances and the selectors also had their 165-run partnership in last year's corresponding fixture in mind when they made their choices. Western Australia, who selected an unchanged squad after their success against New South Wales, are level with South Australia and New South Wales on 20 points, four behind Victoria and eight adrift of Queensland.
The Bulls have named the same squad for their top-of-the-table match with the Bushrangers in Melbourne starting on Thursday. An outright victory would almost certainly seal Queensland hosting rights for next month's final after they defeated South Australia in Brisbane last week. Matthew Hayden and Shane Warne will play their final games of the domestic season before joining the Test squad in South Africa for the three-match series.
Victoria have made three changes, including handing a state debut to the former New South Wales wicketkeeper Nathan Pilon. Brad Hodge and Jason Arnberger return from illness after missing the 120-run loss to Tasmania and they step in for Michael Klinger and Andrew McDonald.
Pilon's selection ahead of Adam Crosthwaite was the biggest surprise, but he was pleased with his elevation after two successful seasons with the Carlton club. "I'm thrilled with this opportunity and am really looking forward to Thursday's game," Pilon, who scored 111 and 33 in last week's 2nd XI match against New South Wales, said. "My form's been pretty solid, and will hopefully continue."
South Australia Shane Deitz, Cameron Borgas, Mark Cosgrove, Daniel Harris, Darren Lehmann (capt), Callum Ferguson, Graham Manou (wk), Mark Cleary, Jason Gillespie, Dan Cullen, Paul Rofe, Shaun Tait.
Western Australia Justin Langer (capt), Marcus North, Chris Rogers, Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, David Bandy, Luke Ronchi (wk), Beau Casson, Brett Dorey, Steve Magoffin, Ben Edmondson, Shawn Gillies.
Queensland Jimmy Maher (capt), Matthew Hayden, Martin Love, Clinton Perren, James Hopes, Brendan Nash, Lachlan Stevens, Chris Hartley (wk), Andy Bichel, Ashley Noffke, Daniel Doran, Michael Kasprowicz.
Victoria Jason Arnberger, Lloyd Mash, Brad Hodge, Nick Jewell, David Hussey, Jon Moss, Cameron White (capt), Nathan Pilon (wk), Shane Warne, Allan Wise, Gerard Denton, Shane Harwood.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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