TRENT Copeland is set to form part of the strongest bowling attack New South Wales has fielded this Sheffield Shield season when tackling Tasmania from Monday at the SCG.
The Bathurst seamer has been named in a 12-man squad headlined by Australian Test star Nathan Lyon, while both Steve O’Keefe and Sean Abbott are expected to play as well.
Lyon fellow spinner O’Keefe and Abbott are the three changes which have been made to the squad which lost to Victoria last week.
It will be Lyon’s first shield game of the season and 23rd overall in the baggy blue. Just two of those have been at the SCG and surprisingly, he has claimed just one wicket at the venue for NSW.
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However, given Lyon took 12 wickets for Australia during the recent two-match Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, he shapes as a real threat.
“It feels great to be back, obviously back amongst the boys, and getting to play at one of my favourite grounds in the world, it's very exciting,” Lyon said.
“To play any game at the SCG is so absolutely so special, it’s got so much history behind the ground.
“I think this will only be my third shield game out there, so hopefully we can get a decent result for New South Wales.”
Copeland has played in both of NSW’s matches so far this season – a draw in a rain-affected match against South Australia and the loss to Victoria.
He has already taken 12 wickets across three innings for the season and ranks as one of the most economical bowlers in the competition.
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In the opener against South Australia – which O’Keefe and Abbott also played – Copeland was man of the match as he snared nine scalps including a 6-86 in the first innings.
Last season Copeland and his team-mates had little joy against Tasmania with a draw at the SCG and 10-wicket loss in Hobart, the Bathurst talent unable to take a wicket across those two matches.