BBL11: Jhye Richardson and Laurie Evans to boost Perth Scorchers for Sydney Sixers showdown
Perth Scorchers will unveil their strongest team of the tournament for The Qualifier against Sydney Sixers on Saturday, with confirmation of Jhye Richardson’s inclusion and the likely availability of English import Laurie Evans to set up a series of brutal selection calls.
Richardson’s return for his first outing of this summer’s Big Bash League will likely dislodge Lance Morris and could keep the impressive Matt Kelly from returning from COVID, while Evans is expected to pass a fitness test after having his toe broken by a yorker in the second-last regular season game. His return could squeeze out WA youngster Aaron Hardie.
While the Scorchers have brilliantly covered a series of key absences, captain Ashton Turner welcomed the full deck of cards as the two most successful clubs in BBL history face off for direct entry into next Friday’s final.
“It’s nice to have a full squad to pick from for these big games and no doubt the personnel makes a big difference in us playing the best version of cricket that we think we can,” Turner said.
“It’s a luxury, but there’s also going to be some selection headaches. There’s going to be some guys who are really unfortunate to miss out and lose their spots, but I think that’s the nature of good teams.”
Richardson was the leading wicket-taker in last summer’s BBL with 27 but was unavailable for the entire regular season while he was with the Test squad.
Turner said Richardson was so good there was no thought of sticking with the bowlers who had got the Scorchers to the top of the table.
“Jhye’s definitely going to play,” he said.
“He takes wickets with the new ball swinging it, he bowls the surge over as an amazingly skilled defensive bowler and he bowls the death over.
“He can bowl to any batters. He can bowl to any situations. We talk a lot about T20 cricket and match-ups, well it seems in our planning meetings that Jhye matches up well to everyone.”
Turner predicted the hard-hitting Evans would take his place.
“Most guys who have played professional cricket for long enough have broken a toe at some stage, I know I have on a few occasions,” he said.
“Honestly they’re just a pain in the arse. They’re a bit sore, but he’s going to do a fitness test. I’ve got a pretty strong feeling that he’ll be available for selection.”
The neutral showdown at Marvel Stadium, Perth’s preferred home venue for the finals after being locked out of WA, will be the Scorchers’ 14th consecutive game away from home.
The Scorchers have a perfect 3-0 record at the indoor venue this summer and also defeated the Sixers in their two meetings in Canberra and Coffs Harbour.
The teams share a stories rivalry and have each claimed the BBL title three times.
Asked if it would be the team’s greatest title if they were to triumph, Turner didn’t directly answer but left little doubt about how special a fourth championship trophy would be.
“We feel like we’ve faced some real adversity this year. We’ve faced some challenges that have been really unique, but we also spare a thought for every other team in the competition,” he said.
“Every player, every family member, every staff member, every fan has had to make sacrifices for this tournament to go ahead. Guys have had to make sacrifices that are unique to every player.
“I think one of the great positives out of this unique situation is that we’ve spent a lot of time together on the road and we think that’s a really galvanising experience.”
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