BEFORE THE GASTRO: The Bulls team celebrates winning the Ryobi Cup against NSW on Sunday.
BEFORE THE GASTRO: The Bulls team celebrates winning the Ryobi Cup against NSW on Sunday. MARK KOLBEGETTY IMAGES

Not the right sort of runs

AS YOU may have heard, the first day of red-ball cricket for this summer didn't exactly go to plan for the Queensland Bulls.

A squad of 12 players for the opening Shield game against SA quickly dwindled to eight fit ones, thanks to a vicious bout of "gastro", with skipper James Hopes, Chris Hartley, Greg Moller, and myself all suffering.

Changeroom scenes before the toss were chaotic, as you can imagine with only two bathrooms.

I don't think I've ever seen so many grown men in the foetal position. I'm sure we will see the funny side of it in a few days.

As the day went on, the state of affairs worsened - Harts gave up the gloves to Peter Forrest and joined me in the rooms after I trudged through four overs of gentle medium pace.

Eventually succumbing, we both headed to the emergency ward of the Adelaide hospital to be put on drips.

Our horror day back in the whites must have put a few smiles on faces south of the border, however. Much to my amusement, one journalist down there has again predicted us to come last in the Sheffield Shield format.

He's obviously not someone who has followed domestic cricket the past few years and in particular, the Queensland Bulls.

Shield finalists last year and Shield winners the season before that obviously doesn't count for much down south, but we are more than happy to fly under the radar in Croweater country.

Despite the carnage, it's great to have the red ball game upon us once again, and it's safe to say I'm not the only domestic cricketer that seems to forget what one looks like after the amount of limited-overs cricket the past few months.

With the first round of Shield games kicking off around Australia this week, there have been plenty of Ashes candidates looking to push their cases in the lead-up to the First Test.

With Australia still on the ODI tour of India, there are a few teams missing notable players first round. Fortunately for the Maroons, that's not the case, retaining Ryan Harris for a stint against SA here at Glenelg.

Both Ryan and Usman Khawaja are our two biggest Ashes hopefuls this summer and were looking to get off to a flier.

I've spent a lot of time playing with and against "Uzzie" since our time in the Australian Under-19s together, and it's safe to say he is hitting the ball the best I've seen in a long time.

From deft touches to explosive hitting, he displayed all the shots and more during our successful Ryobi Cup tournament.

Backing his batting success up in the field, he took some unbelievable catches, none more impressive than the full-stretch one-hander in the final to dismiss a hard-hitting Steve Smith.

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