Exciting quick Liam Haskett could debut as Western Australia look to bring the heat

Tall and quick: Liam Haskett is part of Western Australia's next generation Getty Images

Inside the famed WACA ground, traditionalists like to quip that the cricket season doesn't really start until the Sheffield Shield gets underway.

Their wish will be granted when two-time defending champions Western Australia take on rival Victoria from Wednesday. It is a rematch of the last two Shield finals, where Victoria fell short on both occasions.

Those diehards on the terraces, however, might just need to pack a jacket and scarf, at least for the first couple of days.

With bleak clouds above and a chilling wind wafting around, it's a reminder that Perth is slowly emerging from the winter months.

But by week's end, in the backend of this compelling opening fixture, the temperature is set to soar past 30 degrees Celsius. It should feel reminiscent of the peak cricket summer in Perth, assuming the match has not wrapped up early.

Judging by a green-tinged pitch in the middle of the WACA, standing out from afar, the Shield opener looms as a pace-bowling shootout much like the slew of low-scoring contests early last season.

The expected spicy conditions appear a perfect opportunity for a youthful WA - missing numerous star players - to unleash uncapped quicks Liam Haskett and Sam Greer, who have been named in the 12-player squad.

Fellow paceman Lance Morris, hostile so far in the 50-over Marsh Cup, won't play with his workload being managed after returning from a back injury that ruled him out of the Ashes.

Frontline quicks Jhye Richardson, Joel Paris and Matt Kelly are working their way back from injuries.

As a towering left-arm quick renowned for generating significant bounce, Haskett appears a ready made replacement for Paris. The 22-year-old was close to selection late last season against Victoria.

"He's really exciting. It's great to have that option as a back up left hander when Joel [Paris] is not around, " WA allrounder Aaron Hardie told reporters on Tuesday.

"He tears up the gym and is very professional at everything he does. He's going to be very handy for a long period of time."

Greer, 21, is armed with a "lovely outswinger", according to Hardie, and if selected will be tasked with helping penetrate a strong Victoria batting line-up even without fringe Test opener Marcus Harris.

All eyes will be on former Test opener Will Pucovski, who returns to first-class cricket after 12 months having fought battles with concussion and mental health.

"Certainly know how good he is. No matter what happens this week, it's going to be a win for Australian cricket," Hardie said of Pucovski.

Due to the World Cup, the home Test summer starts later than usual in mid-December. But the early rounds of the Shield provide those on the fringes to make cases.

The 24-year-old Hardie might appear some way off a Test debut, but he's another talented, imposing WA allrounder following in the footsteps of Mitchell Marsh and Cameron Green.

His growing stature was underlined when Hardie made his international debut during Australia's recent white-ball tour of South Africa.

"The [Australian] coaches were really good at giving feedback, " he said. "A lot of it was really basic stuff but it's about how to take it to that next level. Now that I've got a taste of it I certainly want to spend as much time out there as possible."

Hardie will be relied upon to step up for a new-look WA, who should be tested first up against a Victoria team gunning to finally take them down.

"It's a great rivalry at the moment....awesome to test out your skills round one at home," Hardie said. "Probably people from the outside might not know these names who will potentially be playing over the next week.

"As squad members, we've seen them develop. We have full confidence they'll be able to do really well this week."

Meanwhile, Cooper Connolly, who helped carry Perth Scorchers to the BBL title last season, has undergone surgery on a toe injury to his right foot sustained in a boating accident on Wednesday. WA said a timeframe for his return will be determined in due course.

Western Australia squad Sam Whiteman (capt), Cameron Bancroft, Cameron Gannon, Jayden Goodwin, Sam Greer, Aaron Hardie, Liam Haskett, Josh Philippe, Corey Rocchiccioli, Charlie Stobo, Ashton Turner, Teague Wyllie