Queensland are aiming for a third-straight domestic one-day title when the month-long tournament gets underway in Brisbane on Saturday.
Overlooked by Australian selectors once more, Ben Cutting’s disappointment is Queensland’s delight as the Bulls chase a third straight domestic one-day title.
Cutting was left out of Australia’s Twenty20 and one-day squads to take on Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, a tour which clashes with this month’s domestic one-day cup.
It’s a personal setback for the bowling all-rounder, who has played just four ODIs and three T20 internationals since debuting for Australia in January 2013.
His availability however is a huge plus for the Bulls, who kickstart their campaign for a hat-trick of titles at the Gabba on Saturday against Victoria.
Bulls skipper James Hopes says Cutting simply has to keep performing for his state until his claims are too strong to ignore.
“I can tell you first-hand, it takes time to play for Australia all the time and Cuttsy’s going through that at the moment,” Hopes told AAP.
“All he can do is come back here. Have a big one-day tournament and put his hand up again for the games against South Africa.
“Eventually they stop ignoring you and you’re in the team all the time. It’s a big four weeks for him.”
The Bulls’ success in recent seasons has been built on the stability of their line-up, giving them the depth to feel they can manage the injury-enforced absences of star batsman Chris Lynn and Test quick Ryan Harris.
In Lynn’s place the Bulls have included Peter Forrest and Joe Burns after both were omitted from last year’s tournament while towering quick Peter George will be aiming for an instant impact after moving north from South Australia in the winter.
“We’ve got a pretty stable group of players. It’s not going to be anything new for them playing in big games or under pressure,” Hopes said.
“We’re looking forward to this year. We know we’ve got a good team.”
The Bulls rivals have all been hit by international call-ups.
NSW will be missing several key players including last year’s star turn David Warner while Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia have to make do without important assets.
South Australia believe they can make an impact with the return of fiery quick Shaun Tait.
The 31-year-old doesn’t hold a contract with the Redbacks after several summers as a T20 specialist but batsman Callum Ferguson says the World Cup winner is poised to make a major impact.
“Right now he’s looking in fantastic condition physically and the ball’s coming out well,” Ferguson said.
“To see him bowling fast, and with the late swing that I saw when we were a lot younger, it’s really exciting for us. Something we didn’t expect to have this year.
“I’m looking forward to watching him wizz them around the ears.”
HOW EACH STATE LOOKS GOING INTO THIS MONTH’S DOMESTIC ONE-DAY CRICKET COMPETITION
Last year: Winners
Captain: James Hopes
Coach: Stuart Law
The Bulls are hunting a hat-trick of titles but will have to do so without injured pair Chris Lynn and Ryan Harris. Lynn’s absence has been mitigated by the inclusion of former international one-day batsman Peter Forrest and Joe Burns, both of whom missed out on last year’s tournament. Former South Australian quick Peter George will also play his first matches for his new state, easing the void left by Test quick Harris’s omission. The Bulls will also be happy to have big-hitting bowling all-rounder Ben Cutting available after he was overlooked by national team selectors for the limited-overs campaign against Pakistan in the UAE.
Key player: Ben Cutting – A dangerous bowler who also offers threat of lower-order runs
Last year: Runners-up
Captain: Moises Henriques
Coach: Trevor Bayliss
David Warner was the player of the tournament in last year’s domestic one-day cup but the big-hitting opener will be in the Middle East on national team duties for this year’s event along with NSW teammates Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc. Sean Abbott and Steven O’Keeffe will also miss part of the tournament due to Australian commitments. In their absence the Blues will rely heavily on captain Moises Henriques and experienced state campaigners such as Nic Maddinson, Trent Copeland and Doug Bollinger. Plenty of eyes will be on young paceman Pat Cummins as he makes his latest return from injury.
Key player: Nic Maddinson – Will need to score heavily in the absence of Smith and Warner
Last year: 3rd
Captain: Matthew Wade
Coach: Greg Shipperd
International call-ups mean Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell are big misses for the Bushrangers while Test stars Peter Siddle and Chris Rogers will also be unavailable. The Victorians still have plenty of star turns available however including captain Matthew Wade, all-rounder Dan Christian and former one-day international player of the year Clint McKay. Veterans David Hussey and Cameron White will also be keen to show they’ve still got something to offer.
Key player: Matthew Wade – Needs a big tournament to stay on World Cup radar
Last year: 4th
Captain: Xavier Doherty
Coach: Dan Marsh
The Tigers are also missing key players due to Australia’s series against Pakistan with George Bailey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Alex Doolan and James Faulkner all overseas. Several players will be returning from the Hobart Hurricanes’ Champions League campaign, which proved no hindrance for Queensland’s Brisbane Heat players last year. Xavier Doherty gets a chance to lead his state in Bailey’s absence while ex-Test opener Ed Cowan has been in good pre-season form and Jordan Silk makes his return from injury. New recruit Michael Hill will also be keen to show what he can do after moving to the Apple Isle from Victoria.
Key player: Ben Dunk – The Tigers’ batting relies on the ex-Queenslander to provide top-order fireworks
Last year: 5th
Captain: Adam Voges
Coach: Justin Langer
The Warriors take a good looking squad east with ex-South Australia captain Michael Klinger joining a squad led by experienced ex-Australia player Adam Voges. Ashton Agar will be hoping to get back into national selector’s thinking with a good tournament while Nathan Coulter-Nile won’t have completely given up hope of sneaking into the World Cup squad. Young quicks Simon Mackin and Joel Paris will also give a glimpse of the future, with Paris having looked particularly impressive during last summer’s Big Bash League. Mitch Marsh and Mitchell Starc are both away on international duty while Shaun Marsh misses out due to injury.
Key player: Nathan Coulter-Nile – The all-rounder offers big-hitting and fast bowling options
Last year: 6th
Captain: Johan Botha
Coach: Darren Berry
All eyes next month will be on the return of fast bowler Shaun Tait. The Wild Thing is uncontracted but will make his one-day return for the Redbacks after four seasons as a Twenty20 specialist. Coach Darren Berry says the World Cup winner is bowling “very fast” and he could make a telling impact as South Australia aim to improve on last year’s disappointing campaign. Mark Cosgrove is back in the line-up following his return from Tasmania while there’s plenty of experience in skipper Johan Botha, Tom Cooper and Callum Ferguson. Jake Lehmann, son of national team coach Darren, has also been named although Phil Hughes and Kane Richardson are away on Australia duties.
Key player: Shaun Tait – The veteran quick can be a match-winner if he’s at his best