Weird selection calls as two horror form slumps tested

South Australia's hopes of a drought-breaking Sheffield Shield title are now hanging by a thread, even with a Test-level wicketkeeper in the team.

Weird selection calls as two horror form slumps tested

South Australia's hopes of a drought-breaking Sheffield Shield title are now hanging by a thread, despite the inclusion of Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey for Friday's match against Queensland.

The Redbacks, who are currently fifth in the six-team domestic competition, have named a 13-man squad for the first-class fixture at Adelaide Oval that hints at keeping the nucleus of their batting line-up that has fought uphill statistically all season.

Carey will take the gloves off teammate Harry Nielsen for the clash, which firms as his only red-ball game before flying out for Australia's tour of New Zealand later this month. 

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Despite growing pressure externally, captain Jake Lehmann and opener Jake Carder have been backed by selectors to play alongside Carey – and subsequently push for their state's first Shield title since the 1995-96 season.

After a magnificent 115 against Tasmania in October last year, Lehmann has quickly fallen out of form, averaging a measly nine runs from his last 10 innings at first-class level.Jake Carder of the Redbacks reacts to losing his wicket during the Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and South Australia.

His teammate Carder has had an even longer dry spell at the crease, averaging just 13 from his last 17 first-class innings - with his last red-ball half-century at domestic level in November 2022.

Former South Australian and Victorian wicketkeeper Adam Crosthwaite was honest in his assessment on where the Redbacks sit amongst the competition, admitting that worrying selection trends could be part of the side's lack of success.

"It's been the same problem every year for the past decade really; ever since Michael Klinger and Callum Ferguson there hasn't been that same stability in the batting line-up," said Crosthwaite. 

"There are some guys in particular that need to see runs quickly… they [the selectors] are searching for answers, so they've got to search for runs."Thomas Kelly of the Redbacks celebrates making his half century during the Marsh One Day Cup match between South Australia and Queensland.

The continued backing of Lehmann and Carder has come at the expense of young gun Thomas Kelly, who was omitted from the Shield squad despite his match-winning 81 off 66 balls against Queensland on Wednesday in the Redbacks' final one-day fixture of the season. 

Wildcard Jake Fraser-McGurk will return to the side after Australian white-ball duty, while promising uncapped rookie Kyle Brazell has been named in the squad as a potential option up top. 

Contracted opener Kelvin Smith was again overlooked as a prospect for the clash, despite a South Australian Premier Cricket average of 130.66 in two-dayers this season.Bailey cautious on fast-tracking Fraser-McGurk

Opener Henry Hunt (broken nose) and all-rounder Liam Scott (omitted) - who both featured in South Australia's last match against Victoria - will not play tomorrow, while leg-spinner Lloyd Pope has been released from the squad to make room for seamer Harry Conway.

"With Hunt out, it gives some opportunities to guys – their bowling attack is going well so hopefully things change with the bat," added Crosthwaite.

Play is set to commence at 10.30am ACST (11am AEDT) Friday at the Adelaide Oval.