International batsmen Aaron Finch and Cameron White have both been left out of Victoria's squad for the opening round of the Sheffield Shield season, starting on Wednesday. Opener Travis Dean has been included for a likely debut in Victoria's match against Queensland at the MCG, which like all games in this round will be a day-night fixture using pink balls.
White was dropped towards the end of last summer and Finch played only two Shield matches due to his ODI commitments. After the retirements of Chris Rogers and David Hussey, they might have been considered likely inclusions for this season's opener, but instead Finch's fellow World Cup-winner Glenn Maxwell took one of the spots made vacant after the Shield final and Dean was preferred for the other.
Dean, 23, has grabbed every opportunity handed to him by the Victorian selectors this year, and is coming off 217 not out and 63 in the Futures League match against Western Australia last week. He played two Futures League games late last summer and scored centuries in both of those as well, 187 not out against Tasmania and 116 against Queensland.
"We contracted him after a big year he had in Premier Cricket and at the next level in Futures League," Victoria's chairman of selectors Andrew Lynch said. "He's obviously in good form in and he really deserves a shot in the top order where we think he can do well for us."
"Cam is a bit unlucky but with our full complement of players to choose from there just wasn't a spot for him. If Finch had been selected it would have been as an opener and on this occasion Dean has been selected ahead of him."
White's immediate future in the Victoria outfit is now unclear, after he was also dropped from the one-day side towards the end of the recent Matador Cup campaign. He was part of Australia's ODI side as recently as January. Finch remains a key man for Australia in the shorter formats but is yet to transfer his skill to the first-class arena, where he averages 29.92 from 49 games.
Legspinner Fawad Ahmed has been included after failing to make Victoria's squad for the Matador Cup, where left-arm spinner Jon Holland was their preferred slow bowler. Holland ended the tournament with a sore shoulder and is expected to be available for selection again in a fortnight, giving Fawad an opportunity in the Shield after he topped the competition wicket tally last season.
In other squad announcements on Tuesday, Tasmania named 18-year-old batsman Jake Doran for a possible first-class debut against Western Australia in Hobart, while there was no room for opener Jordan Silk after he had a quiet Shield season last year. Mark Cosgrove and Kelvin Smith were named in South Australia's side to take on New South Wales in Adelaide after both missed selection for the recent Matador Cup.
New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia all named their squads on Monday.
Victoria squad Matthew Wade (capt), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Daniel Christian, Travis Dean, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Marcus Stoinis.
Tasmania squad George Bailey (capt), Alex Doolan, Jackson Bird, Xavier Doherty, Jake Doran, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Andrew Fekete, Evan Gulbis, Dom Michael, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird.
South Australia squad Travis Head (capt), Tom Cooper, Mark Cosgrove, Callum Ferguson, Jake Lehmann, Tim Ludeman, Joe Mennie, Kane Richardson, Alex Ross, Kelvin Smith, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa.
New South Wales squad Steven Smith (capt), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ed Cowan, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Steve O'Keefe, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.
Queensland squad Usman Khawaja (capt), Cameron Boyce, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Peter George, Chris Hartley, Scott Henry, James Hopes, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Reardon, Mark Steketee, Jack Wildermuth.
Western Australia squad Adam Voges (capt), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Marcus Harris, Michael Hogan, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Klinger, Simon Mackin, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joel Paris, Sam Whiteman.