Melbourne : The ongoing 12th edition of the Big Bash League (BBL) will become even bigger with the return of nine Australian men’s Test players to the competition. David Warner, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Alex Carey, Nathan Lyon, Matthew Renshaw and Ashton Agar are the nine players from Australia’s most recent Test XI, who will join their BBL clubs this week following their 2-0 Test series victory over South Africa.
Warner will represent Sydney Thunder for the first time in nine years in a home clash with reigning champions the Perth Scorchers on Friday. He will play five games for the club for which he scored the BBL’s first-ever century in December 2011.
The Sydney Sixers will welcome Smith and Lyon back into the fold for their match against the Perth Scorchers at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.Ashton Agar will return to the Scorchers’ side, which has also recently welcomed back extended Test squad member Lance Morris.
There will be a massive showdown between Warner, Smith, Lyon and their respective sides in the Sydney Smash on Saturday at the SCG.Khawaja could play his first game for the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday, with Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Renshaw also returning to the mix. Their inclusions will bolster the Heat’s batting lineup as they look to keep their Finals hopes alive against the Scorchers at the Gabba.
Head and Carey will also return to the Adelaide Strikers in time for the First Nations Round, making their first BBL 12 appearance at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. They slot into a top order that recently orchestrated the highest run chase in BBL history against the Hobart Hurricanes last week.
With just under three weeks of the BBL-12 home and away season remaining, all teams remain in contention for the finals, making the return of Australia’s biggest names crucial to securing a playoffs berth.
Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s General Manager Big Bash Leagues, said: “Everyone across the League is pumped to welcome members of Australia’s world number one Test team back into the BBL for the run to the Finals.
“From a hat-trick, record-breaking scores and run chases, big crowds at marquee games and huge audiences every night across Seven and Foxtel, this BBL season has had it all.”