Marsh One-Day Cup 2019
Marsh One-Day Cup preview: NSW Blues
Coach Phil Jaques takes a closer look at his young Blues squad, who will be without their Ashes stars early in the tournament
17 September 2019, 08:08 AM AEST
The NSW Blues have had a "nomadic" pre-season as the state moved its headquarters to Sydney's Olympic Park, but that hasn't prevented them entering this season’s rebranded, revamped domestic one-day tournament – the Marsh One-Day Cup – full of confidence.
A series of intra-squad trial games in recent days has seen some strong performances: rising star Nick Bertus hit successive fifties, Daniel Hughes hit 87 at the top of the order, Daniel Sams smacked 82 from 68 balls and backed it up with a few wickets, while there were four-wicket hauls for both Sean Abbott and Arjun Nair (the latter is not on the state's contract list but could still be in the mix for selection).
Matt Gilkes, the 20-year-old who made his Sydney Thunder debut last season, has also impressed and was put on the Blues rookie list for this year.
The Blues could also potentially welcome back a bevy of Ashes stars later in the tournament, although that will depend on national selectors. David Warner and Steve Smith could feature at some stage while the availability of their Test-bowling stars Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon is still to be determined.
Cricket.com.au spoke to NSW coach Phil Jaques to preview this season.
The Blues have named the following 14-man squad for their opening two matches in Brisbane, minus their Ashes stars and including Arjun Nair and Nathan McAndrew, two players drawn from outside their state contract list: Sean Abbott, Nick Bertus, Harry Conway, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Liam Hatcher, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nathan McAndrew, Arjun Nair, Peter Nevill (c, wk), Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Sams.
CA contracts: Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner. NSW contracts: Peter Nevill, Sean Abbott, Nick Bertus, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Daniel Fallins, Ryan Gibson, Liam Hatcher, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Param Uppal, Greg West. Rookies: Ryan Hackney, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Oliver Davies, Matt Gilkes, Chad Sammut.
Possible Best XI: David Warner, Daniel Hughes, Steve Smith, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill (c, wk), Daniel Sams, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.
2018 result: Fifth
Sep 22: v Qld at AB Field (Fox Cricket & Kayo)
Sep 26: v SA at AB Field (Fox Cricket & Kayo)
Sep 30: v WA at Drummoyne Oval (Fox Cricket & Kayo)
Oct 2: v WA at Drummoyne Oval (Cricket Network)
Oct 23: v Tas at the SCG (Fox Cricket & Kayo)
Nov 17: v Vic at the MCG (Fox Cricket & Kayo)
Nov 20: v Tas at Blundstone Arena (Fox Cricket & Kayo)
The inside world with Phil Jaques
There's been some good individual performances but the thing that's impressed me the most is the players are buying into the roles that we're looking for in one-day cricket. (They are) playing accordingly to those and the conditions in front of them, which has been great to watch.
The young gun
Jack Edwards showed how destructive he can be in one-day cricket last year, and he'll be looking to have an equally successful campaign this year. I think his bowling has really improved this season. He played mainly as a batter last year, but I think we might see a lot more from his bowling throughout the one-day campaign, from what we've seen in the early trials. He's just more accurate and very clear in what he's trying to do in one-day cricket. He's been one of the standout bowlers in the pre-season I think he's got a bit to offer in an all-round capability.
Player to watch
Daniel Sams has had a really good pre-season and made some really good improvements. He could play any format, really. We think in white-ball cricket he's a star in the making. He's a very talented fielder too. He played a couple of Sheffield Shield games at the start of last year, and he is very much in the mix again.
What's your team's biggest strength?
I don't want to give away too many of our plans, but we have a clear philosophy about how we want to play, and we'll be putting in the right personnel into that philosophy over the course of the campaign. We want to play an aggressive brand of cricket and we want to pick guys that can provide more than one aspect of their skillset. We'll pick the best players to play the best roles we can in that aggressive brand. We want to be entertainers, but we want to play smart and intelligent cricket as well.
Who's the biggest threat?
It's probably us playing to our own ability. If we can play to our ability, we can match it with anyone. I think we've got a very dynamic line-up, we bat a long way down and they're dynamic, I think our bowling stocks are very good. I think our biggest threat is just not performing on the day. I really do think if we perform to the best we can, we'll be hard to beat.
What do you make of the new-look schedule?
With the tournament being spread out rather than in one clump it will add a new dynamic to the competition, and with short turnarounds after four-day games, we'll have to look at how players are managed. We obviously want to win every tournament that we can. It might give a few opportunities to a few fringe players, but that will be on a case-by-case basis. But we'll be playing our best available team for every game of cricket we can.