13 February 2020
Blues welcome key ins for Bushrangers clash
The NSW Blues continue their push towards a first domestic four-day title since 2013-14 when the 2019-20 Marsh Sheffield Shield resumes at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.
NSW will be bolstered for their match against Victoria with the inclusions of Kurtis Patterson and Test spinner Nathan Lyon as they look to remain unbeaten this season, with BBL-winning trio Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes and Stephen O’Keefe also set to line up.
Phil Jacques’ side made a blemish-free start to the red-ball season before the competition paused for Test fixtures over the summer, having recorded five wins from their six matches, with the other match resulting in a draw.
Jacques is sure his team is not discounting the last-placed Victorians – the side who held the Blues to a draw in the states’ penultimate match, prior to the break.
“We’re just looking to try and continue from where we were in the first half of the year and keep getting better as a team going forward,” Jacques told Cricket NSW ahead of Friday’s match at the SCG.
“But we need to keep improving as a side, that’s going to be the message for the players when they come back in.
“To keep improving as a team, keep building momentum towards what might be a final, and then make sure we’re equipped to win that final.”
Fresh from captaining the Sydney Sixers to the franchise’s second BBL title, Henriques will again look to lead from the front in the return to long-form cricket.
Contributing just seven runs in the BBL decider, Henriques will be hopeful of recapturing the form that saw him post 116 in the Blues’ most recent Shield outing against the Queensland Bulls, at the SCG last December.
Henriques’ ton against the Bulls was his second of the Shield season and an innings which took him to the top of the Blues’ run-scorers list.
The 158-ball innings – that included 11 boundaries and one six – lifted the 33-year-old’s personal tally this season to 453 runs at an average of 56.62.
“We’ve been able to put some good sides together all season and having those guys back in the mix, it certainly adds to our squad depth, which is fantastic,” Jacques said.
“Having someone with international experience to come back into our side, who are both class acts, it certainly does improve our team.
“We’re happy to have them around the Blues family and hopefully we can get the business done against Victoria.”
Sheffield Shield: NSW Blues v Victoria Bushrangers
14-17 February, Sydney Cricket Ground.
Play commences 10.30am
Free Admission. Entry Via Gate A ONLY.