ULLADULLA'S Matthew Gilkes is part of the 17-man NSW Blues squad named for the opening rounds of the 2020-21 Sheffield Shield in Adelaide.
The squad, that will depart for Adelaide on Thursday, includes Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Sean Abbott, who have completed their two weeks COVID-19 quarantine after arriving home from Australia's T20 and one-day tour of England.
Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill will again lead NSW as they begin their shield defence.
Fast bowler Chris Tremain returns to the Blues Shield squad after six seasons with Victoria.
Leg spinning 18-year-old Tanveer Sangha is the squad's only uncapped Blue.
Cricket Australia announced in late September that due to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, all six states would begin the tournament in South Australia.
Much of the Blues squad played for their clubs last weekend during round two of NSW Premier Cricket, with emerging young batsman Gilkes starring with 200 from just 203 balls batting at number three for UNSW on the first day of their match against Western Suburbs.
The Blues have played a number of intra-squad trial matches in preparation for the start of the shield season with stand-out centuries to Kurtis Patterson and Nick Larkin the highlights.
Blues head coach Phil Jaques said the willingness to get better throughout the squad was the most impressive part of a pre-season that was like no other.
"At times when you win a shield, there can be a little bit of complacency within the camp - I've seen it in teams I've played in but I certainly haven't seen it at all through this whole off-season," Jaques said.
"There continues to be a real hunger to keep improving and take our cricket to the next level.
"[During the pre-season], we were operating in groups anywhere from four up to full squad training, but changing weekly, so the guys have had to be really adaptable throughout the pre-season.
"I can't commend them enough for how adaptable they've been to get a really good body of work done and be as prepared as we are."
NSW Blues Sheffield Shield squad: Peter Nevill (c), Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Daniel Solway, Jason Sangha, Matthew Gilkes, Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain, Nathan Lyon, Liam Hatcher, Harry Conway, Jack Edwards and Tanveer Sangha.