Alex Carey and Marnus Labuschagne to play Sheffield Shield ahead of Pakistan Tests

Alex Carey and Marnus Labuschagne will play in the Sheffield Shield this week following their return from the 2023 ODI World Cup while Cameron Green is also expected to feature as he begins his push to return to the Test side.

Carey, who was dropped from the one-day side after the opening game of the World Cup against India, will hope to find some form ahead of the Test series against Pakistan when he faces Victora in Adelaide.

It is unlikely the selectors will make a change to the Test side, but Josh Inglis‘ white-ball form is putting some pressure on Carey whose returns faded in the latter part of the 2023 Ashes after the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s, although Carey has previously insisted that incident has not been a factor.

“I don’t feel like one-day and Test cricket overlay,” Carey said last week. “So we’ll wait and see when Test selection comes out, but I’m looking forward to getting out there Tuesday and having a hit with the red ball for the Redbacks and then see what happens.

“You never want to get dropped in any format, and unfortunately after the first game I didn’t get back out there, but I thought I held myself around the group pretty well.”

Green, meanwhile, faces a battle to win back his Test place after being dropped for the final match of the Ashes. Barring injury he still appears behind Mitchell Marsh in the pecking order for the start of the Pakistan series. After playing Queensland in Brisbane, Green will also feature for the Prime Minister’s XI against Pakistan in Canberra but he won’t be part of the BBL which means he may then get a break from the game unless he is carried as part of the Test squads.

“I’m obviously still learning as a cricketer. So I’m not too stressed about selection at the moment,” Green told AAP at the start of the summer. “There’s a lot of cricket, a lot of things can happen with injuries or form.

“At the same time, I can use it as in a pretty positive way. I can spend more time in the nets, really trying to get that rhythm of red-ball cricket. If you’re not playing the Test match, you might be able to play another Shield game.

“There are obviously a few silver linings you can take out of it and try and improve your skills and just be better for it if you get the chance.”

But how many opportunities Green gets for red-ball matches in the latter part of the season remains to be seen as he will likely be part of Australia’s one-day and T20 squads in February and New Zealand for the two Tests which stretch into March. He will then embark on another IPL where he will appear for Royal Challengers Bangalore having been traded by Mumbai Indians.

Labuschagne, who had a remarkable return to the ODI side after not making the initial cut for the World Cup followed by a run of events that kept him in the team throughout the tournament, will line up against Green for Queensland as he takes the opportunity for a red-ball hit before the Tests.

Meanwhile, Nathan Lyon will complete his Test preparations by playing for New South Wales against Tasmania at the SCG. He has had a managed return from his Ashes-ending calf injury having previously faced Victoria and Western Australia.

From the rest of Australia’s likely XI for the opening Test in Perth, the three frontline quicks – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood – along with Marsh are all being rested after the World Cup. Scott Boland, who will likely feature at some point in a season that features seven Tests, has also been rested.

David Warner is also resting ahead of what will be his final Test series. Steven Smith and Travis Head are still currently with the T20I squad in India.

Elsewhere in the final round of the Sheffield Shield before it breaks for the BBL there will be a fascinating head-to-head between Cameron Bancroft and Matt Renshaw at the Gabba with both vying to be Warner’s Test replacement in January. Marcus Harris, who has regularly been Australia’s spare batter over the last 18 months, will be in action against South Australia.

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