This article follows on from my recent article ‘The Australian coaches dream team‘ and this time I have selected a team made up of some of the great players who have coached either New South Wales or Queensland since State of Origin began in 1980.
It has been announced that Chris Tremain has moved back to New South Wales.
Born in Dubbo, Tremain cited family reasons to come back to his home state after joining Victoria in the 2014-15 season.
For the Victorians, Tremain picked up 209 wickets in 54 first-class matches at an average of 23.79 with six five wicket-hauls and one ten-wicket haul.
Alongside his eye for wickets, Tremain in a handy lower-order batsman and returns home as a more mature and experienced cricketer.
In a NSW side filled with international cricketers, Tremain’s inclusion makes the Blues firm Sheffield Shield favourites.
Here’s the NSW Blues squad below.
The Cricket Australia contracted players are Pat Cummins, David Warner, Josh Hazlewood, Steve Smith, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa.
The NSW contracted players are Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill, Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Ryan Hackney, Liam Hatcher, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Nathan McAndrew, Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Daniel Solway and Chris Tremain.
And on NSW rookie contracts are Arjun Nair, Oliver Davies, Baxter Holt, Lachlan Hearne, Tanveer Sangha and Ryan Hadley.
When at full strength, NSW will struggle to find places for the likes of Tremain, Sean Abbott and possibly Daniel Solway alongside many more.
The batting includes domestic stalwarts in Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques and Kurtis Patterson while Peter Nevill is a fine gloveman.
Apart from fielding the Australian Test attack, the NSW bowling has experienced campaigners in Trent Copeland, Chris Tremain and Sean Abbott while Harry Conway is starting to catch the eyes of Australian selectors.
While the depth in NSW’s batting and fast-bowling stocks are top notch, I am a bit worried about the spinner’s role. With Steve O’Keefe retiring from first-class cricket, NSW don’t have a genuine first-class spinner to partner or take over from Nathan Lyon.
Adam Zampa has come back to NSW, but his first-class stats are average. I hope that Zampa will enjoy bowling on more spin-friendly wickets across NSW to improve his skills as a red-ball bowler.
Under the guidance of Phil Jacques, the Blues made the 2018-19 Sheffield Sheild final before losing to Victoria and emerged 2019-20 champions after COVID-19 led to a premature end to the season.
NSW has emerged as a harder and tougher team to beat in the past two seasons after a few seasons of mediocrity in the long form of the game. With a side that would want to repeat their 2019-20 success and go on to win the tournament rather than top the table, NSW will turn up hungrier than ever this Shield season.
Alongside many NSW fans (myself included), I cannot wait to see Tremain and company burst out and rip apart opposition batting attacks.
Assuming that the Australian Test stars will miss the majority of the Sheild to international duties, here’s my predicted NSW XI for this edition of the Sheffield Shield: Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Daniel Solway, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill (captain and wicketkeeper), Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Chris Tremain, Adam Zampa, Harry Conway.