Brett Lee hopes to be in contention for Australia's limited-overs series against Sri Lanka later this month, despite his decision to sit out of New South Wales' opening Ryobi Cup game this weekend. Lee has been troubled by injuries all year but is aiming to be part of Australia's World Cup defence in February.
The Blues begin their season with a one-day game against South Australia in Adelaide on Saturday, and the match will mark the return of Brad Haddin to state cricket after a long lay-off due to an elbow injury. But Lee has chosen instead to make a more low-key start to his summer by playing in Sydney's grade cricket.
"Obviously I didn't want to go straight back in for the Blues this weekend, I thought it would be nice to ease into a grade game, and I mean that with all due respect," Lee told the ABC. "But I'll be trying to play a couple of one-dayers for the Blues over the next couple of weeks, with the look to try and play against Sri Lanka coming towards the end of this month."
Haddin will take the gloves for both the Ryobi Cup game and the Sheffield Shield match that follows two days later, with his sights set firmly on returning to the baggy green for the Ashes opener at the Gabba in late November. Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper has been out of action since May, but he made a positive comeback for the New South Wales Second XI this week.
He will be joined in the New South Wales side by the uncapped opener Nic Maddinson, who has been named in both squads. Maddinson, 18, was part of Australia's winning Under-19 World Cup side earlier this year and earned a Blues rookie contract during the off-season, and could win a Sheffield Shield debut with David Warner unavailable due to his ODI call-up for the series in India.
Another potential debutant is the allrounder Sean Abbott, also 18, who scored a century for the New South Wales Futures League side last week. The Blues will also welcome back the fast bowler Mark Cameron, who missed all of last season with a back injury and has not played for his state since February 2009.
There could also be a return for another fast man, Scott Coyte, who last played for the Blues in a Twenty20 game in January 2008. South Australia's one-day squad includes their off-season acquisitions Aiden Blizzard, the former Victoria batsman, and the fast bowler Ben Edmondson, who has moved from Western Australia.
NSW Ryobi Cup squad Phil Jaques, David Warner, Nic Maddinson, Usman Khawaja, Ben Rohrer, Brad Haddin (wk), Moises Henriques, Steve O'Keefe, Sean Abbott, Stuart Clark (capt), Mark Cameron, Trent Copeland, Scott Coyte.
NSW Sheffield Shield squad Phil Jaques, Nic Maddinson, Usman Khawaja, Peter Forrest, Ben Rohrer, Brad Haddin (wk), Moises Henriques, Steve O'Keefe, Sean Abbott, Stuart Clark (capt), Trent Copeland, Scott Coyte.
South Australia Ryobi Cup squad Michael Klinger (capt), Daniel Harris, Tom Cooper, Aiden Blizzard, Callum Ferguson, Cameron Borgas, Graham Manou (wk), Daniel Christian, Aaron O'Brien, Kane Richardson, Chris Duval, Ben Edmondson, Gary Putland.