Queensland Bulls are the reigning Sheffield Shield champions (Image: Cricket Australia)

The Queensland Bulls kick off their Sheffield Shield campaign against the Tasmanian Tigers on Tuesday as they look to back up last season’s successful campaign.

The Queensland Bulls kick off their Sheffield Shield campaign against the Tasmanian Tigers on Tuesday as they look to back up last season’s successful campaign.

Head coach Wade Seccombe will be pleased to have a large majority of his Sheffield Shield winning squad at his disposal.

Of the departures, speedster Brendan Doggett, who was part of the Bulls’ playing XI that defeated NSW in the final, has made the move across the nation to WA. While impressive youngster, Nathan McSweeney has made the move to South Australia which should see him play more games.

James Bazley was added to the Bulls’ squad but is expected to feature more for the Marsh Cup team, whilst Will Prestwidge, a bowler from Nothern Suburbs District Cricket Club, has been given a rookie contract.

Last Season

The Queensland Bulls finished the 2020/21 Sheffield Shield season as the champions, defeating NSW by an innings and 33 runs.

The Bulls finished top of the table after losing just one match in the 2020/21 season.

Test star, Marnus Labuschagne, was once again the main man for the Bulls, finishing the season with a batting average of 82.1. Labuschagne scored four centuries and two half-centuries throughout the campaign.

Matthew Renshaw and Usman Khawaja were also impressive with averages around the 60 runs mark.

Bulls Name Squad For Shield Opener | Queensland Cricket
Usman Khawaja will once again lead the Queensland Bulls (Image: Queensland Cricket)

Mitch Swepson was the Bulls’ most prolific wicket-taker, taking 32 wickets for the season. Doggett finished second highest with 22 wickets before making the move to WA.

Xavier Bartlett and Michael Neser were also reliable with 19 and 18 wickets respectively.

Team Strengths

Queensland has an incredibly strong first XI that showcases a great amount of red-ball experience at elite levels.

Burns, Labuschagne, Khawaja, and Renshaw have all featured at test level as Neser, Steketee, and Swepson have all been involved in the Australian test squads over the past 2 years.

With Bartlett on the rise, his combination with Neser, Steketee, and Wildermuth is an ideal and strong pace attack.

Swepson is expected to once again be one of the most damaging spinners in the competition with Labuschagne providing the backup.

Xavier Bartlett will look to continue his development this season (Image: cricket.com.au Twitter)

Key Players

The Bulls will once again rely heavily on Labuschagne to once again make the bulk of the runs.

Likewise, Mitch Swepson will be relied on to be a consistent wicket-taker in his bid to keep his name on the tongues of test selectors.

One player who is determined to impress test selectors is Michael Neser, who can damage with both bat and ball.

With the Ashes approaching, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are surely the first pace bowlers selected in the side.

Mitch Starc is 32 in January and is becoming more inconsistent as time goes by, whether the selectors are ready to pull the trigger and shake up the attack is yet to be known.

Neser has the ability to be a decisive figure every match with his game-winning abilities and could earn a baggy green on the back of strong Shield performances.

Player to watch

Jimmy Peirson is a quiet achiever for the Bulls. Since joining the Queensland setup, he’s been improving on his game year by year.

In the 2020/21 season, Peirson averaged 44.66 runs for the Bulls, managing four half-centuries and one century in nine innings at a strike rate of 63.6.

Recently named captain of the Brisbane Heat, Peirson is a confident and capable head in the middle order.

Peirson has strong leadership attributes and is an outside chance to challenge as Tim Paine’s eventual replacement in the test side.

Bryce Street faced the second-highest number of balls faced last season becoming a rock at one end of the pitch. Averaging 39.1 runs, if Street can add more runs to his game, he would become a more spoken-of prospect.

Who’s in for national selection?

Marnus Labuschagne is certainty to feature for Australia at the Ashes. After breaking into the side to cover for a concussed Steve Smith in the previous Ashes series, Labuschagne hasn’t looked back and is currently the fourth highest-ranked batsman in the world.

Joe Burns is always in consideration to partner David Warner as the opener for Australia.

At 34 years of age, it is unlikely the Khawaja will be considered a call-up back to the Australian test squad, but it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

Mitch Swepson will continue to be the next spinner in line to play for Australia should a second spinner be needed, or a Nathan Lyon replacement is necessary.

Michael Neser has frustratingly been on the fringe of breaking into the Australian pace attack for a couple years now.

Mark Steketee was added to the test squad in January before suffering an injury.

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Season Predictions

Queensland will go into the 2021/22 Sheffield Shield campaign expecting to go back-to-back.

The Bulls have the players that know how to make plenty of runs and take ten wickets on a consistent basis.

The Bulls will kick off the campaign against the Tasmanian Tigers and will want to win comfortably to instil confidence within the squad.

Fringe players for the national side will be hungry to impress and could prove pivotal in the Bulls’ aim for another successful season.

Full Squad

Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Joe Burns, Max Bryant, Blake Edwards, Sam Heazlett, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne (CA contracted), Michael Neser, Lachlan Pfeffer, Jimmy Peirson, Matt Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Mitch Swepson, Jack Wildermuth, Jack Wood

Rookies: Jack Clayton, Will Prestwidge, Connor Sully, Matthew Willans

In: James Bazley, Will Prestwidge

Out: Brendan Doggett (SA), Nathan McSweeney (SA), Corey Hunter, Benji Floros

Predicted First XI

  1. Bryce Street
  2. Joe Burns
  3. Marnus Labuschagne
  4. Usman Khawaja (C)
  5. Matt Renshaw
  6. Jimmy Peirson (WK)
  7. Jack Wildermuth
  8. Michael Neser
  9. Mark Steketee
  10. Xavier Bartlett
  11. Mitch Swepson

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