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Trent Copeland wants more focus on Sheffield Shield over Ashes

New South Wales paceman Trent Copeland says we need to have more focus on the Sheffield Shield rather than worrying about Ashes auditions.

In a big round for the Shield competition, a number of Ashes hopefuls pressed their claims to win a spot in Australia’s squad to play England beginning in August this year.

However, Copeland says we should be focusing on the success of the competition and quality of matches in recent times.

When asked whether there was a possibility of a shock Ashes call up – the 32-year-old who has played three Tests for Australia and taken six wickets – says we shouldn’t just be focusing on the Ashes.

“It’s one of those things where it’s quite flattering to hear people mention your name, but honestly I wish the Ashes talk would stop personally,” Copeland said.

“We’ve got an extremely important and very hard fought Sheffield Shield competition going on and I wish there would be a little bit more focus on that as opposed to people auditioning for spots.

“When Marcus Harris scores a hundred yesterday the only chat that’s relevant is he put his hand up to go to the Ashes, not wins Victoria a game.

“I want to help New South Wales win games of cricket and hopefully get along to a Shield final and win it.

“So if that came at the end of it, that would be unbelievable, it’d make my life complete in terms of the actual trip, but for now it’s focus on the next game at the Gabba.”

The Blues quick delivered a number of overs to Ashes candidate Cameron Bancroft in his first Shield game back from his ball tampering suspension – as the Blues defeated Western Australia by an innings and 51 runs.

Bancroft looked a class above his Western Australian teammates – carrying his bat to finish 138 not out in the first innings – while he also made 86 in the second innings as just four other batsmen from the west passed double figures.

Copeland says Bancroft – who averages a tick under 31 from his eight Tests – is showing good signs upon his return.

“I’m impressed with him as a human being having come back from what’s happened over the last 12 months,” Copeland said.

“Just the way he goes about his business that was the most impressive part.

“He had a couple of lucky moments, there were numerous chances throughout the game.

“He batted for over 600 balls, there’s a lot to be said about scoring a hundred in his first Sheffield Shield game back and the concentration it takes to get to the point that you can do that, even though it was quite a nice wicket to bat on if you didn’t want to get out.”

Ashes spots will be hard to come by for Australia’s best batsmen across the domestic scene with the likely returns of David Warner and Steve Smith from their ball tampering suspensions alongside Bancroft.

Incumbent Australian openers Marcus Harris (95 & 174) and Joe Burns (60 & 80) both had impressive hitouts from their Shield clash for Victoria and Queensland respectively.

It now leaves Australia with at least four potential openers for the Ashes, while Copeland’s teammate Kurtis Patterson (134) continued his hot run of form with another century.

New South Wales play Queensland at the Gabba in round eight of the Sheffield Shield beginning on Sunday.


Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.