Jhay Richardson to miss BBL final for Scorchers with hamstring injury

Perth Scorchers pacer Jhai Richardson will miss next Saturday’s BBL decider as he battles a hamstring injury.

Richardson is likely to be a tough luck story for the defending champions Scorchers, who booked their place in the home grand final after beating arch-rivals Sydney Sixers by seven wickets at a packed Optus Stadium.

After sustaining a minor hamstring injury against the Sydney Thunder on 4 January, Richardson was set to return in time for the finals series but his recovery took longer than expected.

Scorchers captain Ashton Turner admitted that “I think the chances of a blemish are slim. I’d be surprised if we see him next weekend.”

On the fringes of Australia’s Test team, Richardson has played three Tests, his latest being the Adelaide Ashes Test in December 2021, where he bowled a memorable five-wicket victory for Australia on the final day.

But 26-year-old Richardson fell down the pecking order this summer, leaving him on the sidelines for an extended period ahead of the BBL season.

However, a fit and fired-up Richardson issued a reminder of his potential with explosive bowling that saw him take 15 wickets in just seven matches at 150km/h in the latest BBL setback. .

With fresh doubts over Richardson’s ability to stay on the field, the Scorchers are set to be cautious as they eye their long-term future.

“Jhe is an exciting cricketer, but he is still a young man,” Turner said. “He puts a lot into his body. But we also have a bit of perspective. Jhe has had a lot of cricket, in Orange, playing for WA, playing for Australia, playing for franchises around the world.

“He’s too important to put his body at unnecessary risk. I don’t think it’s fair to put someone’s young body under too much pressure.”

Perth Scorchers weigh in on specialist spinner.

Richardson’s absence will be a blow for the Scorchers as he has picked up seven wickets in the last three Grand Finals given his penchant for the big stage, including man-of-the-match against the Sixers in the BBL06 decider. was also included.

The Scorchers will also be without speedster Lance Morris, who played his final BBL match of the season before joining Australia’s squad for the tour of India.

Morris will be replaced by reliable leg-spinner Peter Hatzoglou and pacer Matt Kelly, who was ruled out of the Sixers match due to concussion protocol after suffering a freak injury to his face while fielding against the Melbourne Renegades.

The Scorchers went into the clash against the Sixers without a specialist spinner, with part-timers Turner and Cooper Connolly unused.

“We have to assess the situation,” Turner said. “Peter Hatzoglu has bowled very well for us over the years. He’s someone who should play at this level. He’s got a proven track record, he’s won us games.”

Left-arm pacer David Payne is likely to retain his place after playing a key role against the Sixers, dismissing Steven Smith and Moises Henriques between three wickets.

His performance was even more impressive given that Payne was a doubtful starter after feeling ill and forced to isolate himself from his teammates.

“We have a lot of confidence in every player in our squad. We trust what they say. He has been a valuable addition to our squad,” Turner said of England international Payne. I said, who replaced them after they became unavailable for compatriot Tymal Mills. Tournament due to family emergency.

“It’s been a smooth transition for him. He’s been great for our dressing room. Thankfully now he’s had a few days to rest.”

50,000 fans expected at BBL final

After such a resounding victory over the Sixers, supported by over 41,000 vocal fans, the Scorchers have cemented their status as a competitive powerhouse franchise on and off the field.

As the Scorchers seek back-to-back victories and a fifth title overall, a crowd of 50,000 is expected at the Optus Stadium, which will host the BBL Grand Final for the first time.

Only one Australia-England ODI and BBL semi-final between the Scorchers and Hurricanes has attracted crowds of more than 50,000 for cricket at the venue and both matches were held shortly after Burswood Stadium opened in early 2018. were

No matter who they play, the Scorchers will start strong favorites having won 12 of their last 13 matches at home.

“It’s a distinct home-ground advantage,” Sixers forward Sean Abbott said. “Those guys play their home conditions very well.”

Tristan Lovelette is a journalist based in Perth.

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