The Sydney Sixers will head into Saturday’s Big Bash League final at the SCG without Test star Mitchell Starc.
The left-armer has been ruled out after battling knee and hamstring concerns since the recent series against India.
Starc, one of the world’s premier white-ball bowlers, had signed up to play BBL for the first time since 2014-15 but will finish the summer without appearing for the Sixers.
“He’s a world-class player and if you had Mitch in your team, all of sudden the quality of your team shoots up maybe 50 or 100 per cent,” Sixers all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite said.
“However, without him there we have the guys that have brought us to the final and it seems as though the management are backing the team to go all the way.
“Even that in itself is a nod of confidence from the management to the current group of players.”
The reigning champions are riding high on confidence after their dominant nine-wicket win over Perth Scorchers – with 18 balls remaining – in last Saturday’s qualifier.
English opener James Vince starred with 98 not out as Brathwaite, Ben Dwarshuis, Jackson Bird and Steve O’Keefe showcased Sydney’s bowling depth.
The Sixers finished four points clear on top of the table after the regular season and will host the winner of Thursday’s Perth-Brisbane match in the final as they seek to defend their title.
“The funny thing is I’ve played in a few finals and form counts for absolutely nothing,” Brathwaite said.
“It’s just about how you hold your nerve on the day and which team plays the best 40 overs.
“As much as it gives us a lot of confidence and we feel very good with our game going into the final, I don’t think any of us are under illusions that anything that’s happened before means anything once that bat is flipped for the final.”
Brathwaite, who famously hit four consecutive sixes to finish off England in the 2016 World T20 final, said emotion would play a big role on Saturday.
It will be the first BBL match at the SCG this season, which has been heavily affected by travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
“First it’s about controlling the emotions because everyone was so happy to finally to be back in Sydney, playing in front of fans at the SCG,” Brathwaite said.
“Having been deprived of that and not being able to play at the SCG, it may be a bit more of an occasion than just a grand final.
“We need to control our emotions and continue to execute.
“The other guys have played more than enough cricket at the SCG to know and understand and assess the conditions quickly and implement the game plans that worked over the last few years.”