Heat weigh up Morkel inclusion, Strikers set for a change, Starc ‘highly unlikely’

The Sydney Sixers have confirmed Mitch Starc is “highly unlikely” to play on Saturday, while there’s doubts about Morne Morkel and Ryan Gibson for Friday’s Eliminator along with the Thunder attack for Sunday.

SQUAD NEWS

The Brisbane Heat named an unchanged 18-man squad for Friday’s Eliminator against the Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba.

However, there’s a selection squeeze brewing with Morne Morkel ($135k BWL) in the mix to the return to the XI after being X-factor last game.

Heat captain Chris Lynn said: “Morne is going well. Playing at the Gabba will suit his style of bowling especially with their left-handers.

“It’s a tough one because you don’t want to change a winning formula but he’s got so many games of experience under his belt. They’re tough decisions to have but they’re good decisions.”

Lynn added: “I wouldn’t drop a batter for Morne. We’ll have a selection meeting tonight with Boof (Darren Lehmann) and Hopesy (James Hopes). We’ve got 2 X-factors which we’ve used well throughout the tournament.”

Heat squad: Bartlett, Bazley, Burns, Bryant, Cooper, Denly, Gregory, Heazlett, Kuhnemann, Labuschagne, Laughlin, Lynn, Morkel, Pfeffer, Peirson, Steketee, Swepson, Wildermuth

The Strikers also named an unchanged 19-man squad for the game, although Ryan Gibson ($66k BAT) is in doubt.

Adelaide said in a statement: “Ryan Gibson is facing a race against time to prove his fitness, after a hamstring complaint kept the batsman from fielding against the Sydney Thunder on Monday night.”

Matt Renshaw ($72k BAT/BWL) looms as his replacement after being dropped for their final regular season against the Thunder.

Strikers squad: Head, Carey, Agar, Briggs, Conway, Gibson, Neser, Nielsen, O’Connor, Johnson, Renshaw, Salt, Scott, Short, Siddle, Valente, Weatherald, Wells, Worrall

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UPDATES

Mitch Starc ($190k BWL) is “highly unlikely” to play in Saturday’s Qualifier against the Scorchers in Canberra.

Early on Thursday, Sixers coach Greg Shipperd said: “There’s still a chance. We’ve got some important medical decisions being made today. Hopefully once we land in Canberra we’ll have a better idea of his availability going forward.”

However, the club put out a statement on Thursday evening, which said: “Mitch underwent scans on his knees on Tuesday and is still awaiting results.

“Once the results have been received medical staff will determine his fitness and a conversation will be had between Mitch and the Sixers to assess his availability to play in any of the club’s remaining games in BBL|10.

“At this stage it is highly unlikely Mitch will be available to play this weekend. The club will not be making further comment until we have clarity on Mitch’s availability.”

Shipperd also spoke about the form of Josh Philippe ($195k WKP/BAT) after scores of 1, 12 and 20 in his past three innings.

Shipperd said: “That’s the nature of T20 cricket, it’s . It’s a high risk game. He’s playing at the top of the order chasing fast runs. He’s showed enough many times this season to show he’s an absolute match-winner for us.”

One player who won’t be there is Ashton Agar ($102k BAT/BWL) despite being named in Australia’s T20I squad as he is still working his way back from calf and finger issues.

Scorchers coach Adam Voges said on Sportsday WA: “We don’t think we’ll see him in the back of the BBL, but it’s great to see he’ll be healthy for the T20 series for Australia.”

Meanwhile, there’s some brewing selection conundrums at the Sydney Thunder for next round’s Knockout match with Daniel Sams ($205k BAT/BWL) closing in on a return from a hand/wrist injury.

“We’ve got a lot of options,” Thunder bowler Adam Milne said.

“If Samsy’s available for our next game, it going to be a tough choice for Shane. It’s a nice headache for Shane to have. We’ll see what happens.”

Adam Milne ($90k BWL), Nathan McAndrew ($106k BWL), Chris Green ($89k BWL), Tanveer Sangha ($110k BWL), Ben Cutting ($146k BAT/BWL) and Brendan Doggett ($149k BWL) played last game among their attack in Sams’ absence, so one will miss out if he returns.

TOMORROW

The Heat-Strikers final will take place, with the Scorchers and Sixers to name their squads for Saturday’s Qualifier too.

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