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Shield cricket has changed alot since then. International players in general are now not available for it, whereas back then the schedule wasn't so jam packed with international fixtures.When I was a kid, players like Barry Richards used to play in the Aussie state comp and some of the great West Indies players did too. I don't think it did our bowlers any harm to bowl at superstars at home.
Michael Holding played in Tasmania if I remember rightly. You might get a few more punters through the gate as well.
We didn't have a problem with the system when it brought us the wonder years a few years back did we?
Seems counter intuitive to me to minimise the amount of spots for young Australian players when we're trying to identify the next decent player.