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Round 8 Sheffield Shield wrap – Who's putting their hand up for an Aussie Test spot?

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20th February, 2024
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20th February, 2024
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The last round of the Sheffield Shield before the Test squad flies to New Zealand, and considering that 19 days had elapsed since the end of the West Indies Test, surely all the Test players would play this round to get some fine tuning, right? Especially since the Shield is so important to producing quality players? Looks like Cricket Australia had other ideas, strange considering their oft-stated mantra that they are prioritising Test cricket.

All that aside, let’s dive into this round.

Tasmania vs Western Australia: Blundstone Arena, Hobart

3 Sentence Summary: In typical Hobart fashion, the Bellerive Oval pitch flattened out as the match progressed. Tasmania chose to consolidate their spot at the top the table and play for a draw. Still, with 450 to get on a deck that was getting better for batting, Western Australia had 96 overs to get them, and had they pushed, they probably could have chased it down at 4.7 per over, but after the Camerons (Bancroft and Green) got their 100s, they also called it a draw.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 30: Cameron Green of Western Australia plays a shot during day 3 of the Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Western Australia at The Gabba, on November 30, 2023, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Western Australia’s Cameron Green plays a shot. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Who pushed Test claims? Caleb Jewell’s 227, Beau Webster’s 100, Bancroft and Green both making 100? They’re all good, but Joel Paris’s continued omission from the Test side makes no sense. His 7 wickets in the match (3 on a reasonably placid deck) shows why he must be considered as an injury replacement should injury strike one of Australia’s Test quicks.

Who did not push Test claims? Tim Ward has represented Australia A twice but lasted just 5 balls in a match where a lot of runs were scored. He would be disappointed to have missed out and will be hoping that his form turns around.

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New South Wales vs Victoria Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

3 Sentence Summary: Sydney’s severe thunderstorms denied Victoria a shot at gaining first place in the Shield. Making 6/454dec, Victoria had their foot on NSW’s throat at 8/116 when thunderstorms prematurely ended the match. With two rounds to go Victoria has a great chance to finish top of the table, especially with a match against frontrunners Tasmania in the next round.

Who Pushed Test Claims? Scott Boland backed up century makers Will Pucovski, Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb very well with the ball claiming 8 wickets. It will be interesting to see if he gets a run in New Zealand in conditions very much suited to his style.

Scott Boland of Victoria reacts after bowling

Scott Boland goes close to another wicket for Victoria. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Who Did Not Push Test Claims? Let’s focus for a moment on the fact that NSW was missing Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins from their first choice XI. Whilst the result may not have been different, the contest would have been much more even with those four players in there and the Vics would have had an opportunity to test themselves against the best in Australian cricket.

If Cricket Australia is genuine about their commitment to Test cricket, then ALL their Test players must play in the Sheffield Shield when doing so makes sense. With a 19-day break from their last Test match, there was no excuse for them not to play.

South Australia vs Queensland Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

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3 Sentence Summary: In terms of excitement, this was the match of the round. Another game where the pitch got better to bat on as the game progressed. Guided home by stand in captain Marnus Labuschagne, Queensland won a thrilling contest on Day 3, but Marnus will not want to watch the replay of his dismissal again.

Who Pushed Test Claims? It is unusual that a guy who made 26 and 46* should get the nod, but Ben McDermott’s two innings, both under enormous pressure, helped get Queensland the win. His 46* in the second innings was pivotal to helping Queensland chase down what could have been a very tricky total.

Marnus Labuschagne

Queensland and Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Who Did Not Push Test Claims? Nathan McSweeney had a chance to put his name up in front of selectors, but unfortunately, was part of South Australia’s 3/0 loss in the first innings. He will be hoping for better consistency going forward.

Best XI across the first round:

How this is selected: This looks at the best players in each position and fits them in where appropriate. Players can be moved down a rung in the batting order from where they normally bat, but they cannot move up. For example, Matthew Renshaw could open or bat at 3, but since he did not make runs in the middle order, he would not be eligible to bat in the middle order. The objective of this is to track the consistency across the Shield season. At least one player from each side should be selected unless one team utterly dominated that round.

Nic Maddinson
Caleb Jewell
Will Pucovski
Peter Handscomb
Alex Carey
Beau Webster
Jack Edwards
Joel Paris
Nathan Lyon
Mark Steketee
Scott Boland

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Stay tuned for Round 9!

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