Every state is looking for a strong start to the Sheffield Shield season on Friday, but arguably none of them need it as much as Victoria.
The Bushrangers will spend the second half of the Shield as the competition’s vagrants, with the MCG unavailable due to the World Cup.
NSW have shifted home games to Wagga Wagga and Newcastle because of the tournament, while South Australia will play at Glenelg.
Victoria do not have an alternate first-class ground considered up to scratch by Cricket Australia, meaning they will have to play three home matches on the road.
“It is what it is,” captain Matthew Wade told reporters on the eve of his side’s clash with NSW at the MCG.
“It’s a World Cup and everyone’s excited about the World Cup.
“We understand. Short term it’s not ideal for us, we’ve got to travel a bit more.
“But for a World Cup we’re all happy to do it.”
Wade, recently recalled by national selectors for upcoming one-dayers against South Africa, suggested World Cup berths would be up for grabs in the red-ball competition.
“Runs in Shield cricket will get yourself selected,” he said.
Victoria opener David King will make his first-class debut on Friday, while paceman Clint McKay was overlooked.
McKay represented Australia 66 times, most recently in a one-dayer against England in January when he snared figures of 3-36.
NSW are set to blood four debutants on Friday, with 14 players unavailable due to national duty and injury.
The newcomers in their 12-man squad are opening batsman Nick Larkin, 30-year-old spinners Will Somerville and Patrick Jackson and 22-year-old paceman Harry Conway.
Matthew Wade (capt), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Daniel Christian, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, David Hussey, Alex Keath, David King, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Tremain.
Peter Nevill (capt), Ryan Carters, Harry Conway, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Henry, Patrick Jackson, Josh Lalor, Nick Larkin, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu, Will Somerville.