The last-over blunder could well have cost Sri Lanka victory against Afghanistan.
It seems there are no new superlatives left to use to describe the current Western Australian side.
Draped in gold once again last season, Western Australia pulled off the incredible feat of going back-to-back in both the Sheffield Shield and One-Day Cup in a dominant campaign, going undefeated in the One Day Cup before thumping a plucky South Australia in the final, followed by a commanding performance at the WACA in the Shield final over a young Victorian lineup.
It’s a true credit to the unbelievable talent Western Australia has produced, as well as Adam Voges’ coaching and the Western Australian cricket landscape as a whole. They’ll go into the 2023/24 ready to take on all comers, and are charging full steam ahead towards a feat no other side has achieved in Australian domestic cricket as they look they pull off the ‘double three-peat’.
Sheffield Shield: Winners (6 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses)
Leading Run scorers
Cameron Bancroft (945 runs at 59.06)
Hilton Cartwright (629 runs at 39.31)
Sam Whiteman (601 runs at 31.63)
Leading Wicket takers
Matt Kelly (35 wickets at 15.77)
Lance Morris (31 wickets at 19.96)
Joel Paris (27 wickets at 17.37)
One-Day Cup: Winners (7 wins, 0 losses)
Leading Run scorers
Josh Philippe (438 runs at 62.57)
Cameron Bancroft (327 runs at 65.40)
D’Arcy Short (299 runs at 42.71)
Leading Wicket takers
Andrew Tye (14 wickets at 17.21)
Jason Behrendorff (12 wickets at 25.66)
Ashton Agar (6 wickets at 17.00)
Western Australia 2023-24 Squad
Ashton Agar*, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Cooper Connolly, Sam Fanning, Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green*, Aaron Hardie, Liam Haskett, Josh Inglis*, Bryce Jackson, Matt Kelly, Mitchell Marsh*, Hamish McKenzie, Lance Morris*, Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson*, Corey Rocchiccioli, D’arcy Short, Charlie Stobo, Marcus Stoinis*, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman, Teague Wyllie
Rookies: Mahli Beardman, Jayden Goodwin, Sam Greer, Josh Vernon
*Cricket Australia contract
Ins and Outs
Ins: Liam Haskett, Mahli Beardman, Josh Vernon, Andrew Tye
Outs: Shaun Marsh (retired), David Moody (delisted)
As the old saying goes, ‘you don’t change a winning side,’ and Western Australia have just about done that, going through another offseason with minimal changes to their squad. Veteran batter Shaun Marsh has already announced that the 2022/23 season would be his last for Western Australia but only managed one match last season after spending the back end of 2022 sidelined with injury. 28-year-old fast bowler David Moody has been a solid contributor during his time in West Australian colours but had been delisted as Adam Voges turns his attention to younger talent.
Andrew Tye has been added to the squad after playing as an uncontracted player in recent years despite being a mainstay in the white-ball side, while fellow quick Liam Haskett is the only other player to earn a full contract for 2023/24 after a breakout Premier Cricket campaign last season.
Batters: Cameron Bancroft, Hilton Cartwright, Sam Fanning, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman, Teague Wyllie, Jayden Goodwin, Nick Hobson (Uncontracted)
Wicket-Keepers: Josh Inglis, Josh Philippe
All-Rounders: Ashton Agar, Cooper Connolly, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Mitchell Marsh, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis
Fast Bowlers: Jason Behrendorff, Cameron Gannon, Liam Haskett, Bryce Jackson, Matt Kelly, Lance Morris, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson, Charlie Stobo, Andrew Tye, Mahli Beardman, Josh Vernon, Sam Greer
Spinners: Hamish McKenzie, Corey Rocchiccioli
Blessed with remarkable depth in every department, Western Australia will go into the 2023/24 season with confidence despite losing some key players to international duty for the early parts of the season. Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis are all set to be involved in Australia’s ODI World Cup campaign over the coming months, while other stars such as Ashton Agar and Jhye Richardson will also miss the start of the season as they recover from respective calf and hamstring injuries.
Batters Sam Whiteman and Cameron Bancroft continued as a formidable opening pair in the Shield last season, with the latter looking unstoppable at times with 945 runs and four hundreds. Despite missing out on Australia’s Ashes squad earlier this year, another big season in the Shield will put him squarely in the frame for a recall to the Test side, with David Warner’s impending retirement presenting a big opportunity for the right-hander. For a player with just 14 first-class matches to his name, there is incredible hype for 19-year-old Teague Wyllie, who became a mainstay in the WA’s top order last season.
After debuting in Western Australia’s Shield final triumph in 2022, he has already taken the spot of retiring great Shaun Marsh and could be set to explode this in 2023/24 after making his maiden Shield ton last season. Hilton Cartwright’s 2022/23 campaign seemingly flew under the radar, with the powerful right-hander scoring 629 runs in the Shield, displaying his incredible consistency.
Cartwright was the only player to score more than 600 runs last season without making a hundred, but his seven 50s and average of 39.31 still highlight his underrated importance to the Western Australian team.
Ashton Turner returned to Western Australia’s Shield side late last season after a near three-year absence from red-ball cricket, and quickly reminded the cricketing world of his abilities, smashing 128 in the Shield final in an inspiring player-of-the-match performance, with the WA One-Day skipper set to play a big role again this season in both formats.
2022/23 was a real ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ season for Josh Philippe, with the keeper-batter having a career-best One-Day Cup campaign that saw him score 438 runs at 62.57, but seemed like a completely different player when facing a red ball, managing just 140 runs across 7 Shield matches.
Clearly has the talent to become a multi-format player for Australia, but will be hoping to improve his consistency across both formats. Inglis’ absence presents a massive opportunity for Philippe, and he has started 2023/24 in a good way, making a hundred for Australia A in a four-day game in early September.
After rising to prominence through his heroics in the BBL final last season, all-rounder Cooper Connolly seems destined for a big career, but for now faces the tough task of cementing a spot in the Western Australian team, especially with the imminent return of Ashton Agar, with whom he shares many similar qualities.
Although seemingly past his prime, D’Arcy Short certainly hasn’t fallen out of form, with 299 runs in the One-Day Cup last season. Despite his efforts though, the sheer strength of Western Australia’s top order and all-rounder stocks saw him left out of the lineup for the final against South Australia, with the likes of Marsh, Stoinis, and Inglis forcing him him out of the side. Still one of the best white-ball hitters in Australia on his day, but may face a similar challenge this season once some of their star players return from international duty.
As far as genuine all-rounders go, Aaron Hardie is just that. Fresh off his T20 international and ODI debuts for Australia in South Africa in August, selectors clearly see big things in Hardie’s future. Starred in the 2022/23 Shield final but won’t be satisfied with his efforts last season after starting slowly, despite still managing a respectable 378 runs and 17 wickets in the Shield, and will be striving to put up some impressive numbers this season.
While South Australian head coach Jason Gillespie has gone on record to suggest his side has the best fast-bowling depth in the country, it seems he may have forgotten about the men from the west. Matt Kelly, Joel Paris and Lance Morris made for an incredibly dynamic trio in the Shield last season, coming together to make the perfect combination of swing, accuracy and raw pace, taking a breathtaking 93 wickets between them.
Kelly and Paris often don’t get the plaudits they deserve but were integral once again in Western Australia’s title charge, however Morris is firmly in the frame for a baggy green after narrowly missing out last season, with the lightning quick 25-year-old poised to make a big impact if he can overcome back issues that have plagued him over recent months.
NSW-born Charlie Stobo provided brilliant support the the headline acts, taking 20 Shield wickets from just 5 matches after putting himself front-and-centre for a callup after some strong performances in Premier and Second XI cricket earlier in the season. Stobo’s move west has paid dividends so far after he failed to breakthrough in his home state, and will have a role to play once again in 2023/24 for WA.
It’s a testament to Jhye Richardson’s raw talent that Cricket Australia continues to back the speedster despite his persistent injury issues. Richardson will face a delayed start to the season once again but seemingly remains in the frame for national selection despite his lack of game time in domestic cricket over recent years. The lack of cricket throughout his career makes it easy to forget that Richardson is now 27, and he’ll be desperate to add to his tally of 24 first-class matches and make the most of his prime years.
Veteran quicks Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye will lead the line in the white ball cricket once again, with the pair showing little sign of slowing down as they continue to terrorise opposition batters in the One-Day Cup. The experienced Cameron Gannon is a ready-made option if called upon, while WA also has a breadth of younger options in Bryce Jackson, Liam Haskett, Mahli Beardman, Josh Vernon and Sam Greer raring to go.
With Ashton Agar absent for large chunks of the 2022/23 season it opened the door for Corey Rocchiccioli, with the off-spinner enjoying a career-best Shield season with 25 wickets, an achievement made even more impressive when you consider the fact that Western Australian pitches don’t often cater to spinners. It remains to be seen whether he will still be favoured if Agar is available, but the 25-year-old will be looking to make the most of his opportunities once again with Agar’s injury keeping him out of the side in the early parts of the season.
Predicted Sheffield Shield XI
Sam Whiteman (c)
Josh Philippe (wk)
Predicted One-Day Cup XI
Josh Philippe (wk)
Ashton Turner (c)
*Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis and Josh Inglis all excluded due to national team commitments, while Jhye Richardson and Ashton Agar will be unavailable for the start of the season due to injury.
It would almost be considered outlandish not to back in Western Australia to do it all again. Given how dominant their last two seasons have been, their squad arguably only growing stronger and no standout challenger at this stage, no side has ever been better placed to take home double silverware for the third year in a row.
Shield Prediction: Winners
One-Day Cup Prediction: Winners