THE NSW Blues have called in four world class players to their 13-player squad, featuring Ulladulla's Matthew Gilkes, for Wednesday's top of the table One-Day Cup clash with Queensland, in a day-night match, at North Sydney Oval.
Into the squad comes Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood, Daniel Sams and Mitchell Starc - the star quartet replacing Nick Larkin, Liam Hatcher, Harry Conway and the injured Sean Abbott.
A win will guarantee the Blues would host the tournament's final at Bankstown on April 11.
Blues coach Phil Jaques said it was a boost for the squad to bring in players of the calibre of the four internationals.
"It's obviously fantastic every time we get these boys back playing for NSW," Jaques said.
"They are all world class and are great to have around the group."
The game will see Smith return to the crease for the first time since mid-February after recovering from an elbow injury.
"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," Jaques said.
The game however marks the last time players involved in the IPL will feature for the Blues this season with their plane for India leaving Sydney on Thursday, something Jaques said provided an opportunity for the squad's other players.
"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," he said.
"First port of call though is to make the final and to do that we need to try and win on Wednesday.
"Then we can prepare for a final which will be an exciting opportunity."
The Queensland players arrived in Sydney on Monday.
Attendance conditions for the match are still to be finalised.
NSW's next Marsh Sheffield Shield game is also against Queensland and at North Dalton Park in Wollongong from Saturday, April 3.
That side will be named later this week.
Joining Gilkes and the four returning stars in the NSW squad this Thursday will be Pat Cummins, Oliver Davies Ben Dwarshuis, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Kurtis Patterson and David Warner.