Cricket

Steven Smith headlines Australia stars returning to Big Bash

The majority of the Australia one-day squad will return to Big Bash action over the next few days for the backend of the regular season and then the finals for the teams that make it.

Of the players who were in India, only David Warner, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc – who don’t have BBL deals – will not be available.

Here is a rundown of who each team gets back:

Melbourne Stars

Peter Handscomb, who did not get a game in India, will return to bolster the middle order and will likely resume the wicketkeeping duties from Seb Gotch. Adam Zampa will be back as a key part of the spin attack for the Stars who are already assured of hosting the Qualifier on January 31 with the loser of that match earning a second chance to reach the final by playing in the Challenger on February 6.

Sydney Sixers

The Sixers are among the teams currently fighting for second spot to play the Stars and, for the first time in six years, will be able to call on Steven Smith who is available from the match against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba. Josh Hazlewood will be given a few extra days rest after the India tour, but will likely be available for the Sixers’ final regular season game against the Melbourne Renegades and the finals. They remain unsure whether Sean Abbott will have recovered in time for the finals, by when they will have lost Tom Curran to England duty.

Adelaide Strikers

Alex Carey‘s return will bolster the Strikers’ middle order as they push for second place and for the first time this season they will be able to field their strongest possible batting line-up with Carey and Travis Head back in harness.

Perth Scorchers

Ashton Turner and Ashton Agar will be back in the fold as the Scorchers look to build on their handsome victory against the Sydney Thunder. They will hope that Turner’s lean time in India does not impact his form for the final stretch of the tournament. Morne Morkel will also play the final regular season match against the Thunder – which may well be a decider for qualification – in place of Chris Jordan so he is eligible for the finals.

Sydney Thunder

The Thunder did not have anyone in the one-day squad. Last season Cummins made one late-season outing for them but he will not play this year.

Brisbane Heat

Marnus Labuschagne is available to add to his seven T20 outings and he may well be seen as a key to stopping the sort of batting collapses – that reached new heights against the Renegades – which have left the Heat battling to reach the finals.

Hobart Hurricanes

It will likely be too late to save their season, but D’Arcy Short and Matthew Wade will be able to link up at last at the top of the order for the Hurricanes’ last two matches having not joined forces this season due to their respective international commitments. Short spent the three matches in India carrying the drinks after his late call-up to replace the injured Abbott.

Melbourne Renegades

It is officially all over for the Renegades after their horror run of nine defeats on the bounce ended any chance of defending their title. However, they have won their last two games – extraordinarily so against the Heat – and should have Aaron Finch and Kane Richardson back for the final two outings which could cause problems for opposition still looking to secure their finals berths.

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1213775.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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