Baxter Holt and Nick Bertus set to make Sheffield Shield debuts in must-win match for NSW


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Kurtis Patterson will captain NSW for the first time in Nevill’s absence.

While the Blues won’t confirm their XI until the toss, the Herald understands Bertus will come in at No.6 in a side that will feature an extra specialist batsman.

Bertus, who was added to the NSW squad in late July after Will Somerville’s exit, has plundered thousands of runs in grade cricket to put his name up in lights.

The 25-year-old captained Parramatta to a first-grade premiership last year and has already scored more than 1000 runs this season in club cricket.

Pace bowler Greg West, who took 3-49 across two innings against Victoria last weekend, and the uncapped Liam Hatcher are believed to have missed out on the final XI.

The make-up of the Blues’ team is complicated by the fact spinner Stephen O’Keefe has been ruled out due to hamstring soreness experienced during the Victorian game.

NSW batsman Nick Bertus is in line to make his first-class debut against Tasmania. Credit:Cricket NSW

While there is no specialist spinner in the team, Jason Sangha’s leg-spinners are coming along nicely and he will be utilised more than normal.

Sangha and 18-year-old Jack Edwards’ performances of late with the bat have been poor. In 10 innings between them since the Sheffield Shield resumed, neither have passed 40.

All-rounder Sean Abbott returns for the Blues, who are sitting second on the ladder and must beat Tasmania to qualify for the Sheffield Shield final against Victoria, which starts next Thursday.

Likely Blues team: Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Jason Sangha, Nick Bertus, Jack Edwards, Baxter Holt, Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Harry Conway.

Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald

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