Victoria will be looking to make it a One Day-First Class double as the 2018-19 JLT Sheffield Shield gets underway this week! The Vics outplayed Tasmania in the final of the JLT One Day Cup to claim their fifth title and their first since 2010-11. The win has sent them into favourtism for the Sheffield Shield, which kicks off on Tuesday with three games and continues throughout the summer with the final to be held in March.
You can check out the full schedule for the 2018-19 JLT Sheffield Shield here or continue reading for our preview and best bets below.
WA might not have won the JLT One Day Cup but they were certainly the most dominant team throughout the tournament. They finished the round robin stage with five wins from their five games before going down to Victoria in a heartbreaking semifinal. Unfortunately for the Warriors, both the Marsh brothers will play limited roles in the Sheffield Shield as their Test duties will be considerable during the summer, however, the Warriors still boast one of if not the most talented squads in the competition.
Batting depth in the lead up to the Sheffield Shield is the Warriors only issue. After the retirements of stalwarts Adam Voges and Michael Klinger in the off-season, the Warriors added some much-needed depth with the bat with the inclusion of Marcus Stoinis. Stoinis will play a big role in the middle order and as a part time bowler, however, without the Marsh brothers for the majority of the tournament and with Cameron Bancroft still serving his suspension, the Warriors will rely heavily on the likes of Jonathan Wells, D’Arcy Short, Hilton Cartwright and Asthon Turner.
It’s the Warriors bowling line-up that really separates them from the pack. Given they have no players hindered by international duty, the selectors have an embarrassment of riches in the pace department. Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Joel Paris, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile can all be called upon for the Warriors while Ashton Agar, Cartwright, Stoinis and Short all provide options with the ball as well.
Odds: $4 at Sportsbet
The Bushrangers will have their tails up after a fantastic win in the JLT One Day Cup. They were underdogs going into the final against Tasmania but a fantastic effort with the ball after posting a modest 274 with the bat helped them secure the trophy. The Vics currently have a few key players touring the UAE with the Australian Test team, but whether the likes of Aaron Finch, Jon Holland and Peter Siddle will earn selection for the home series against India is a different question. Along with those three, the Bushrangers could also potentially lose Peter Handscomb and/or Glenn Maxwell to Test selection at some point over the summer, however, it’s extremely unlikely that they would be without more than two of those five players.
Marcus Harris, Cameron White, Travis Dean, Maxwell and Handscomb should make up the top fiv ein the batting lineup, which is scary in any format of the game. The bowling depth leaves a little to be desired, especially if Siddle ends up getting selected for the Test summer against India. Without him their pace attack would be held up by James Pattinson, Chris Tremain and Scott Boland while John Holland should return as their front-line spinner after finishing his duties in the UAE.
Odds: $4 at Sportsbet
Our tip for the JLT One Day Cup was a little disappointing, winning two of their five round robin games before being bounced by the Queensland Bulls in the first final. We still think they are a massive contender for the Sheffield Shield, in fact, their squad is probably more suited to the longer format. They are currently without Travis Head who is on Test duty in the UAE and gun to the head you would have to say he gets selected for the Australian summer as well. However, even without Head their batting line-up is still one of the deepest in the competition. Callum Ferguson, Tom Cooper, Jake Lehmann, Jake Weatherald and Alex Carey should make up the bulk of the batting lineup while Cameron Valente will provide the Redbacks with a talented all-rounder.
The Redbacks bowling unit is also stacked to the brim. They boast five players who have international experience in Joe Mennie, Daniel Worrall, Chadd Sayers, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa but the most important thing for SA is that their attack shouldn’t be hindered by international selection throughout this summer.
Odds: $5 at Sportsbet
Tasmania made a great run in the JLY One Day Cup, however, over the longer format and longer season, we think their very depth could get tested at times. They boast just six players with international experience, one of whom they will be without for the entire season in Tim Paine. Jackson Bird will be looked at by the Australian Test selectors over the summer, and without him their bowling lineup is extremely thin.
The Queensland Bulls have a batting lineup capable of matching it with the best in the country, however, a handful of them will probably be missing from the Bulls line-up for parts of the season. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne will all come under consideration from the Test selectors, leaving them very young and inexperienced in the top five.
It’s not often that New South Wales enter a Sheffield Season as one of the worst couple of teams in the league, however, we can’t see much happening for them in 2018-19. The batting line-up looks a shell of what it was a few years ago, with Moises Henriques set to be the only player in the top six with international experience. On paper, their bowling line-up should never be beaten in a competitive game of cricket but with Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon unlikely to suit up, too much will rest on too few.
We think it’s almost a certainty that the winner of the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield will come from our list of three contenders. Victoria, WA and SA have the deepest squads with the fewest chances of being raided by the international selectors, which is the recipe for success in Australian domestic cricket.
We tipped South Australia to come out on top in the JLT One Day Cup and we are sticking with them throughout the summer. While the One Day format is largely controlled by the bat, first class cricket is a bowler's game. You have to take 20 wickets to win a Shield game, and SA boast the best bowling attack in the compeition.
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