COVID-19 chaos, Marsh Aussie call-up, Stars ruled out, Sixers pair to return from injury, Heat signing

It was a chaotic New Year’s Eve with numerous COVID-19 cases complicating fixtures and selections, while two Sydney Sixers are in the mix to return from injury and the Brisbane Heat announced a new signing.

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The Sydney Sixers named their 16-man squad to play the Melbourne Renegades on New Year’s Day in Coffs Harbour.

Jackson Bird and Steve O’Keefe were named for the first time after injury, with Lawrence Neil-Smith and Todd Murphy making way.

The Renegades confirmed a 13-man squad to play the Sixers with Nic Maddinson unavailable after being called into the Ashes squad. Zak Evans comes in for Mitch Perry too.

James Pattinson ($93k BWL) is also out. The Renegades said: “For precautionary reasons, Pattinson won’t travel with the team to Coffs Harbour and is awaiting the outcome of a PCR test before re-joining the squad.”

Sixers: Abbott, Bird, Christian, Dwarshuis, J.Edwards, M.Edwards, Henriques, Hughes, Kerr, Shadab Khan, O’Keefe, Philippe, Pope, Silk, Vince, Winter

Renegades: Evans, Finch, Fraser-McGurk, Harper, Harvey, Zahir Khan, Merlo, Mohammad Nabi, Perry, Prestwidge, Richardson (c), Seymour, Sutherland, Topley

The Hobart Hurricanes announced their 16-man squad to play the Brisbane Heat in Hobart on Saturday, with Mitch Owen and Mac Wright included.

The Heat named an unchanged 15-man squad for the game.

Hurricanes: Brook, David, Ellis, Handscomb, Jewell, Kann, Lamichhane, McDermott, Meredith, Owen, Parker, Rogers, Short, Thompson, Wade (c), Wright

Heat: Peirson (c), Bartlett, Bazley, Bryant, Cooper, Duckett, Gannon, Guthrie, Heazlett, Kuhnemann, Lynn, McSweeney, Mujeeb, Steketee, Wildermuth

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Cricket Australia confirmed Travis Head had tested positive to COVID-19 ruling him out of the Fourth Ashes Test which has had a trickle-on effect into the BBL.

Mitch Marsh ($244k BAT/BWL), Nic Maddinson ($146k BAT) and Josh Inglis ($86k WKP/BAT) were all called into the Ashes squad as cover.

The Melbourne Stars announced a significant COVID-19 outbreak within their squad which will likely mean several games are postponed given their upcoming clump of fixtures.

The Stars update said: “The Melbourne Stars confirm 7 players and 8 support staff have returned a positive test for COVID-19. All players and staff members who tested positive are currently isolating for 7 days, as per government guidelines.”

The identities of those players was not revealed.

The Sydney Thunder also announced: “Four players have today tested positive to COVID-19. Sydney Thunder are working with Cricket Australia and SA Health ahead of tonight’s BBL game against the Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval.”

Three players’ identities were revealed as Tanveer Sangha, Alex Hales and Sam Whiteman. The other was not disclosed.

The Heat confirmed the signing of Pakistani bat Fakhar Zaman (BAT) although he will not be available to play until January 6 and is only signed for three games due to Queensland border rules.

Heat coach Wade Seccombe: “It’s great to have a player of his class available for us at relatively short notice. He is a classy performer who gets the job done in the teams he has played for so we are confident he can settle in quickly. He will need to spend 14 days outside of the State before he can play in Queensland.”

He comes in for Tom Abell ($98k BAT) whose time with the Heat is over due to injury. The club said: “Abell’s stay in the BBL has been cut short, with his knee injury proving more serious than initially indicated and he has returned home to the UK to recover from a damaged lateral ligament.”

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