Vics prepared for belated Shield opener

Oliver Caffrey
·2-min read

As the city of Melbourne awakens from a prolonged lockdown, so does Victorian cricket.

Chris Rogers' team has been in Adelaide preparing for the Sheffield Shield season for almost a month, with two of those weeks under strict quarantine restrictions where players could only train in groups of four.

The Vics have had to watch on as other states took part in multiple first-class matches only a few kilometres away from the team base.

Cricket Victoria authorities successfully lobbied to have the team's scheduled opening game, which would have started only two days after the 14-day quarantine period, pushed back to this Friday.

Former Australian Test opener Rogers, who took on the Victorian coaching job in August, says his side is as prepared to take on South Australia at Glenelg as it possibly can given the COVID-19 complexities.

"Some of these (other) states are already in round five or six of their season, whereas Victoria hasn't played a game," he said.

"The only games that our players have played have been intra-sqaud games so it's not quite the same.

"There will be a few cobwebs I think and we'll be a bit behind in terms of the competitive piece but everyone seems to be going pretty well."

Rogers confirmed uncapped quick Mitch Perry will be included for his Shield debut and is a chance to open the bowling.

The Vics are packed with batting power, even without stars Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell, who are in Dubai for the Indian Premier League.

Rising star Will Pucovski will bat at No.3, while former Australian players Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb will cause headaches for the Redbacks bowlers.

"I think the batsman are all in a pretty good place," Rogers said.

"(Maddinson's) a very, very thoughtful character. You want to give him some freedom.

"All his performances have been really good in the lead-up games."

In other games, table-toppers Western Australia will take on Tasmania, while NSW battle with Queensland as the Blues search for their first win of the Shield season.

The Warriors' batting line-up is coming off punishing NSW, with emerging star Cameron Green and opener Sam Whiteman plundering centuries.

Green, 21, will be buoyed by his inclusion in an Australian squad for the first time after being picked for the white-ball series against India.