Upcoming shield games an opportunity for test match spots

HEADING out home to Chinchilla to join in some of the fun of the Annual Melon Festival this week, I got to thinking on the drive about how important the remaining four Sheffield Shield games are going to be for some blokes.

There are spots up for grabs for the West Indies tour and then the prize of an Ashes tour where Australia will do its best to retain the trophy it won so emphatically at home over the summer of 2013-14.

Chris Lynn's mighty 250 for the Queensland Bulls in our outright win over Victoria will have helped move him up the selectors' long list. So too would NSW wicket-keeper Peter Nevill's double ton have given his supporters cause to push his claims as a likely successor to Brad Haddin in the green and gold.

Matthew Wade's 150 and 50 for Victoria will keep him safe in the Test squad, while Bulls gloveman Chris Hartley's typically diehard century to kick-start the Bulls fightback against the Bushrangers will be timely reinforcement of his perception at the national selection table.

Rest assured there will be some more big efforts to come, and while I am watching on from the sidelines as I recover from a knee injury, take a quiet tip that Queensland could well make life very tricky for the four teams that sit above it on the Shield table.

The funny thing is that they will take place completely under the radar while the World Cup roars to life.

The cricket tragic in me will be eagerly anticipating the opening blockbusters.

After all, World Cups in your own country don't exactly happen every day.

But while that tournament will deservedly have the focus on it, the first-class players not involved will be striving to achieve their best in some out of the way places as they foster their own dreams of national selection.

Queensland will know all about that in a few weeks when they travel to Alice Springs to play Victoria.

The Bushrangers are the nomads of the competition while the World Cup is on, taking their caravan to Wagga Wagga and Alice to play their "home" games.

Queensland has had a bit of success in the Alice, going well against South Australia in a one-dayer a few years back.

The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lads are out there at the moment in the annual Imparja Cup tournament and we are hoping they can win another title with a successful finish to things against Victoria tomorrow.

Here's hoping it turns into a very good omen for the next Queensland side that heads to the Territory.

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