Mitchell Starc could rocket straight into the Sydney Sixers side for a Big Bash final cameo should they make it after captain Moises Henriques revealed the Test quick wants to play.
But a start in Saturday’s showdown with the Perth Scorchers in Canberra, which gives the winner direct passage to the BBL final on February 6, remains unlikely given Starc has to be inside the team bubble for three days before he can play.
Starc was part of the inaugural Sixers team that won the first BBL trophy back in 2011-12. He’s played 10 matches in pink, with his last Big Bash match back in 2015.
Starc and the Sixers are still awaiting results of a second round of scans the left-arm speedster had after finishing the Test series against India with a sore body.
Henriques, who spent the entire Test series in the squad with Starc, said his teammate was keen to rejoin the Sixers and play what would be his first BBL game in six years.
“While we were in the Test hub he mentioned that he was ready if his body was, he was definitely keen to play,” Henriques said on Wednesday.
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“We’re hoping at this stage. We are still waiting on a few scan results. The fact that it’s in Canberra helps.
“As long as the body is not holding him back I am sure we will see him out there.”
A spot in the Sixers’ following game remains on the cards should the scans come back all clear for Starc, who is at home on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Starc, who has only played 10 BBL games, retained his spot in the Test squad for the tour of South Africa today, but that group doesn’t leave until February 19.
Henriques also retained his place, and despite having played just three Big Bash games — all since his release from the Australian bubble, he said he felt ready to go for Saturday’s final.
“I don’t feel like I haven’t played much. You are constantly preparing to play, you don’t really have too may days off in that group,” he said.
“I am as fresh as I would be anyway.”
The Sixers will qualify to host the final should they beat the Scorchers, but have not played a game at the SCG all season.
Whether the SCG could host the decider remains to be seen, despite the prospect of significant COVID restrictions in Sydney being lifted from Friday.
Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson said it was less about the COVID restrictions and more about those interstate that could prove a challenge to play the game there.
“An important priority when approaching the finals this season has been to give teams every opportunity to play finals in front of their home crowd when they have earned the right to host a home final,” he said.
“There remain some border restrictions with regards to NSW that present challenges for the movement of teams and players through the finals and then post-tournament if we play a final in Sydney which means the Sydney teams will host their finals in Canberra this weekend.
“But we are keeping an eye on the situation and working closely with those clubs to determine whether it’s possible and appropriate to play a final in Sydney in week two.”