R=Rookie, CA=Australia contract
Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Pat Cummins (CA), Oliver Davies, Liam Doddrell (R), Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Ryan Hackney, Ryan Hadley, Liam Hatcher, Josh Hazlewood (CA), Lachlan Hearne, Moises Henriques, Baxter Holt, Daniel Hughes, Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon (CA), Blake Nikitaras (R), Jack Nisbet (R), Kurtis Patterson, Will Salzmann (R), Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Lachlan Shaw (R), Steven Smith (CA), Mitchell Starc (CA), Chris Tremain, Hunar Verma (R), David Warner (CA), Adam Zampa (CA) In Liam Doddrell, Ryan Hadley, Hayden Kerr, Blake Nikitaras, Lachlan Shaw, Will Salzmann | Out Josh Baraba, Harry Conway (SA), Peter Nevill (retired)
The main departures were Peter Nevill’s retirement after a distinguished career in front and behind the stumps, as well as a leader, while Harry Conway has gone to South Australia. Last season’s breakout star Hayden Kerr has earned his first full contract alongside young batters Ryan Hadley and Blake Nikitaras. Will Salzmann, 18, is a highly regarded allrounder.
Due to border restrictions, New South Wales faced Victoria three times in the first part of the season. They lost the opening two games to put their campaign on the back foot, but when the Shield resumed in February they secured wins against Queensland and Tasmania. However, it wasn’t enough to keep them in finals contention and in the last game of the season South Australia chased down 326. The biggest issue for NSW was a lack of first-innings runs where their highest total was 294 in the final outing. Overall, there were just two individual hundreds.
On that note, it is an important season for captain Kurtis Patterson. In the last two seasons, he has averaged 21.29 and 28.11 respectively. He needs to lead a batting revival from the front as a senior player.
“In particular our first innings batting last year just wasn’t good enough,” Patterson told ESPNcricinfo. “On day one [of pre-season] we had three or four really key areas to work on and guys really taking the reins in four-day cricket was a big one. That’s guided how we’ve trained around our red-ball stuff. I’ve always thought your captain’s hat is off when the team is batting, that’s easier said than done, but I feel in a better place having had a year captaining under my belt. Feel that separation is a bit easier now that I’m not too stressed out about team things.”
Beyond the big three quicks, David Warner, and Steven Smith, who NSW may not see anything off this season, Nathan Lyon is expected to be available for three or four Shield games before the Tests begin in late November. They will hope for a return more akin to 2020-21 (42 wickets at 25.97) than 2021-22 (four wickets at 62.75) but he won’t be available for the latter part of the competition due to the India Test tour.