Australian cricket superstar Steve Smith back as NSW look to seal Marsh Cup home final

Australia

Steve Smith will play his first match in almost two months when the superstar batsman returns for NSW’s one-day clash with Queensland.

The Australian great will fit in the day-night match at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday before flying out for Indian Premier League commitments the following day.

Smith has been sidelined since early February due to an ongoing elbow injury but will slot back into the Blues’ top-order before he takes off to play for the Delhi Capitals.

The 31-year-old played through pain for some time, but the elbow injury worsened since the New Year’s Test against India and forced him to rest.

“Steve worked really hard to get back fit and to add someone of his class is a major boost and we are looking forward to him hopefully playing his best cricket,” NSW coach Phil Jaques said.

Smith is not the only international player to return for the top-of-the-table day-night match, with Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Daniel Sams to significantly boost the Blues’ bowling stocks.

NSW will have an international quality team available as they aim to seal a home final in the domestic one-day series on April 11.

Pat Cummins will captain the Blues, with David Warner and Nathan Lyon also named in the squad.

“The way we look at it is it’s always a bonus when we have the Aussie guys back in the group but the fact they are going (to the IPL) means we may get the chance to give other guys the opportunity to step up,” Jaques said.

For Queensland, fit-again leg-spinner Mitch Swepson will miss the clash against New South Wales.

Swepson, who has recovered from a stress fracture in his neck, was part of a Bulls’ contingent of Shield and Marsh One-Day Cup players who were leaving Queensland on three different flights for Sydney on Monday afternoon ahead of the COVID-19-caused three-day Queensland lockdown.

The Bulls are also meeting the Blues in a 50-over day-nighter at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday.

The Queensland players – who will remain in “semi-isolation” while in NSW – were due to have COVID-19 tests in Sydney on Monday night.

Test squad spinner Swepson – who has been sidelined since early last month – will be saved for the Shield clash, replacing left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann.

-With NewsCorp

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