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News

Queensland well placed to make strong defence of Sheffield Shield title

They have a largely settled squad although someone will need to fill the shoes of Brendan Doggett

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
27-Sep-2021
Queensland celebrate with the Sheffield Shield  •  Getty Images

Queensland celebrate with the Sheffield Shield  •  Getty Images

Captain: Usman Khawaja
Coach: Wade Seccombe
Fixtures
September 28-October 1: Tasmania (Sheffield Shield), Ian Healy Oval
October 3: Tasmania (Marsh Cup), Ian Healy Oval
Winter moves
The loss of Brendan Doggett to South Australia has been the most significant change to the squad and could see them need to dip into some younger bowlers particularly with Billy Stanlake sidelined and Michael Neser likely to miss a match or two for the birth of his child. Nathan McSweeney also made the move to Redbacks. Allrounder James Bazley was handed his first full contract.
Squad
R=Rookie, CA=Australia contract
Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Joe Burns, Max Bryant, Jack Clayton (R), Blake Edwards, Sam Heazlett, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne (CA), Michael Neser, Lachlan Pfeffer, Jimmy Peirson, Will Prestwidge (R), Matt Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Connor Sully (R), Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth, Matthew Willans (R), Jack Wood
Last season
Three victories in their first four matches - either side of the BBL - put them well on the way to the final where they then hammered New South Wales by an innings. The victories were certainly hard-earned with Mitchell Swepson's career-best form vital against Tasmania and South Australia while a pair of magnificent centuries from Joe Burns and Khawaja secured a come-from-behind win in the second clash against Tasmania. Swepson's 32 wickets were the standout haul and pushed his claim for Test honours while the quicks share their success around. They were boosted by having Marnus Labuschagne available for all the matches as he piled up 821 runs. In the Marsh Cup they were left to rue missing a double-bonus point win against South Australia by one run and were then heavily beaten in the final regular season game against New South Wales
Player to watch
Bryce Street has shown the ability to bat for long periods of time at the top of the order and if his game continues to evolve could make a case for higher honours in the longer term. Although he averaged 45.07 with the ball last season, Mark Steketee had earned a call-up for the postponed South Africa Test tour - with Doggett having departed he will need to improve on those returns this season.
Australia radar
Marnus Labuschagne is a certainty for the Test team but a couple of team-mates could join him. Michael Neser will likely be part of the back-up fast bowlers and could earn a cap if others are rotated or injured while Usman Khawaja may come into the debate for the opening position alongside David Warner. If Matt Renshaw can back up last season with more runs he could yet come back into the frame while Joe Burns will hope his days aren't done, although they might be. Unless Nathan Lyon is injured, Mitchell Swepson's chance will likely have to wait for the subcontinent tours next year.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo