Queensland Captain, Usman Khawaja, is looking forward to the Sheffield Shield Final returning from a one-year absence to draw the Australian summer of cricket to a close, and he knows the other 21 players involved in the match are too.
With the match extended to five days to provide a a greater chance of a result, Khawaja says it just about mirrors that next level up that all state cricketers strive for.
“Players love the Shield Final,” says Khawaja.“It’s the closest thing state cricketers have to Test cricket in terms of days and conditions played.”
Queensland is chasing its ninth Shield title, their first since 2017-18, with defending Champions New South Wales hunting a remarkable 48th crown and their second piece of silverware for the summer following their Marsh Cup title won last weekend at Bankstown.
An earlier Marsh Cup fixture between the two finalists featured more than 1,300 matches of combined international experience, which Khawaja says is a key indicator of the calibre of Australia’s domestic competitions.
“We can’t produce international cricketers if our domestic competition isn’t strong.
“I’ve at times found Sheffield Shield cricket to be more challenging than some Test matches when it comes to conditions and players involved, which is a testament to our competition.”
Completing what was close to a full domestic season was made possible by playing around half the Sheffield Shield season within a few weeks in Adelaide in November, with six states competing across three venues.
“It’s amazing what the ACA and Cricket Australia have done to get as much as cricket as we have had this summer,” says Khawaja.
“There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes and a lot of sacrifices made by both players the organisations as a whole to get to this point.
“It’s been a challenging year for all but this Final will be a wonderful way to culminate all the hard work that has been put in.
“The Sheffield Shield hub in Adelaide was probably the greatest achievement of the summer when you consider the height of the restrictions in place around the country at the time.”
The 2020-21 Sheffield Shield Final at Allan Border Field, Brisbane, begins at 9:30am daily from Thursday through Monday. You can watch the action live on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports, cricket.com.au and the CA Live app.
QLD: Usman Khawaja (c), Xavier Bartlett, Joe Burns, Brendan Doggett, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Bryce Street, Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth
NSW: Sean Abbott, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Jack Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Josh Hazlewood, Lachlan Hearne, Baxter Holt, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Peter Nevill, Kurtis Patterson, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Mitchell Starc