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Elusive Sheffield Shield title the focus for Western Australia

Need to find a way to take 20 wickets more regularly to complement a strong batting unit

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Cameron Green was prolific last season  •  Getty Images

Cameron Green was prolific last season  •  Getty Images

Captain Mitchell Marsh
Coach Adam Voges
September 22: South Australia (Marsh Cup), Karen Rolton Oval
September 24-27: South Australia (Sheffield Shield), Karen Rolton Oval
Winter moves
The bulk of the squad is unchanged from last year with only changes to the rookie contracts. Left-handed batter Jake Carder, who did play two matches at the end of last season, has moved to South Australia while young allrounder Brad Hope has joined Tasmania. Jayden Goodwin, son of former Zimbabwe and WA batter Murray Goodwin, has returned from his sabbatical last year but is still a development player.
R=Rookie, CA=Australia contract
Ashton Agar (CA), Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Cooper Connolly (R), Sam Fanning (R), Cameron Gannon, Jayden Goodwin (R), Cameron Green (CA), Liam Guthrie, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Bryce Jackson, Matthew Kelly, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, David Moody, Lance Morris, Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson (CA), Corey Rocchiccioli, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman
Last season
Western Australia only lost one match last season in the Shield but it was their last one against Tasmania which cost them a spot in the final. They only won two and had five draws. They batted superbly all season led by a sensational summer from Cameron Green (922 runs at 76.83). Green, Josh Inglis, Shaun Marsh, Cameron Bancroft, and Sam Whiteman each scored three centuries, but their bowling lacked penetration. They took 10 wickets in just six innings for the entire season and two of those innings cost more than 432. Cameron Gannon was the leading wicket-taker with 24 scalps but they came at 39.58 apiece with a strike-rate of 78.9, while Matt Kelly was the only other bowler to claim 20 wickets. WA made the final in the Marsh Cup but were unable to defend their title, collapsing in a chase of 252 against New South Wales. Their batting was hot and cold in the 50-over format with three scores over 300, with Green and Shaun Marsh scoring a century each, but they were twice bowled out for under 150, including in the final. Joel Paris was the star performer with the ball taking 10 wickets in just three games.
Player to watch
Josh Inglis has bolted into the Australia T20 World Cup squad but his long-form ability will also have him sharply in focus with Australia Test wicketkeeper Tim Paine recovering from neck surgery and coming to the end of his career. Inglis scored 585 runs at 73.12 last season to put pressure on Alex Carey as Paine's first-choice successor. Inglis' batting ability against spin and his excellent glovework will certainly put him in the frame for Australia's three scheduled tours of the subcontinent in 2022.
Australia radar
With Green already in the Test team and Inglis becoming a player of interest, WA is aiming to add more players into the Test ranks having already provided a number of Australia limited-overs players over the past 12 months. Jhye Richardson has had an interrupted pre-season but at his best, he sits alongside James Pattinson and Michael Neser as Australia's next crop of Test fast bowlers behind the big three of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc. Mitchell Marsh has gone to a new level with his batting over the winter in the shortest form and newfound confidence won't harm his Test chances if Australia wishes to take more allrounders to the subcontinent.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo