Shane Watson hasn't played since the Boxing Day Test. Picture: Phil Hilyard/theaustralian.com.au
Australian star Shane Watson will return for New South Wales for their bottom of the table Ryobi Cup clash with Western Australia on Wednesday, after making his first appearance for over a month in Sydney grade cricket on the weekend. The injury plagued 31 year-old had been off the field since the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka but returned for Sutherland on the weekend, scoring 30 at the top of the order and is one of several big inclusions for the struggling Blues.
International pacemen Trent Copeland and Josh Hazelwood also return after missing the Blues most recent Ryobi Cup match - against Queensland on December 2 – while Gurinder Sandhu will make his debut in the competition. Former Tasmanian Tigers batsman David Dawson is likely to play his first limited overs match in New South Wales colours in the absence of Nic Maddinson and Moises Henriques, but the Blues two leading runscorers in the competition, Scott Henry and Steve Smith , are available.
Michael Hussey will play his first 50 over match for the Warriors in a number of seasons and is one of several star batsmen returning to the lineup, with Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges also set to play after returning from Australian T20 duty. Scoring runs was a real problem for Western Australia in the opening stages of the tournament and in their inclusion could hardly come at a better time with leading scorer Mitch Marsh still on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Both of these sides have won just once this season and face an uphill battle to make the final. Western Australia has lost three on the trot since beating Victoria at the end of September, while New South Wales 27 run win over the Warriors in the first match of the season is the only success that they have enjoyed in the 2012/13 competition.
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