REDEMPTION will be something of a theme when NSW take on Tasmania in the crucial Sheffield Shield match at North Dalton Park, starting on Saturday.
Warilla junior Nic Maddinson is expected to be part of the team, after flying back from the Futures League match in Perth, as the Blues chase a place in the four-day final.
But Tasmania and in particular wicket-keeper batsman Tim Paine are also determined to prove their standing in the competition.
While Maddinson was dropped from the Australian Test team, Paine has been part of the national one-day and Twenty20 squads, but hasn’t played the long-form of the game for almost 12 months.
“With the changes (Tasmania have) had recently, they can always light up a spack in their side,” batsman Kurtis Patterson said.
“And we’re aware of that, we know they’re going to be dangerous.
“It’s important we really aim to win that first session.”
Both NSW and Tasmania named 12-man squads this week and will finalise the line-up on Saturday morning.
Coach Trent Johnston, a Dapto product, said Maddinson was ready to return to the team, after taking a break in the wake of his Test axing and losing the Big Bash final with the Sydney Sixers.
“I’m happy that he’s back in the right frame of mind to be playing first class cricket,” Johnston said. “He’s an outstanding talent and we’ve seen that time and time again.” The Blues are second, needing to win all three remaining matches to have a chance of hosting the final, which would be played in Wollongong. Paine is another who has felt the disappointment of being left out of the Test squad.
It has been a horror season for Tasmania, following the sacking of coach Dan Marsh, and sitting last on the Sheffield Shield ladder.
Patterson endorsed the North Dalton Park pitch, after both states trained in Wollongong on Friday.
“It looks really nice,” he said. “We had the session down here last week and the (practice) wicket was beautiful.”
- SHEFFIELD SHIELD
NSW v TASMANIA
North Dalton Park (10.30am)
NSW: Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Ed Cowan, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Kurtis Patterson, Will Somerville. Tasmania: George Bailey (c), Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Jake Hancock, Hamish Kingston, Ben McDermott, Simon Milenko, Tim Paine, Andrew Perrin, Sam Rainbird, Cameron Stevenson, Beau Webster.