Sixers preparing for Burns backlash

The Sydney Sixers are wary of a Joe Burns backlash at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Having been put out of misery at Test level by national selectors, the out-of-form opener has returned to Queensland and has been included in an extended Brisbane squad for the Heat’s BBL clash against the Sixers.

Heat coach Darren Lehmann said Burns was “keen to help” a Brisbane side needing to lift themselves up the ladder.

“We’ve had a few chats with Joey and we’ll see how he is going (on Saturday) before the game,’’ Lehmann said.

“He’s keen to get in and help out so we’re certainly looking forward to having him back around the group again.”

If Burns does play, the high-flying Sixers will be on high alert.

Sixers paceman Jackson Bird, an Australia A teammate of Burns last month, said the Queenslander’s battle for form had been hard to watch.

“He’s obviously had his struggles over the last couple of months, which you don’t like to see anyone go through really,” Bird said.

“A lot of scrutiny on his performances in the media and in the public eye on social media … when you’re going through a period like that, sometimes the best thing can happen is … getting the band-aid ripped off.

“When you get dropped it relieves a lot of the pressure that’s on you.”

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Bird said the BBL was the ideal competition for Burns to rediscover some form and confidence.

“T20’s a format where he can just come in and play as freely as he wants,” he said.

“He’s a quality player as we’ve seen. He’s scored runs at Test level and he’s done well in BBL cricket.

“He’s definitely someone that we’ll look at in our meetings.”

Bird said the Heat were sometimes tough to plan for due to their inconsistency.

“Over the last couple of years they’ve had a few collapses with their batting … one night they can be really good and others not,” he said.

“It’s going to be a good test for us but we play some good cricket up at the Gabba so we’re all looking forward to getting up there.

“If we just stick to what we do best and do our best stuff with the ball, then hopefully that’ll do the job.”

Bird is yet to play for the Sixers this season due a calf injury he suffered on Australia A duty, but has been named in an extended 18-man squad for Saturday’s clash.

“I’m good to go,” Bird said.

“I’ve ben around for a while so I know how to prepare for games when you don’t know whether you’re playing. You just have to prepare as if you are playing.”

If Bird does not play on Saturday, he’s likely to be used on Sunday night when the Sixers back up to meet the Adelaide Strikers at Metricon Stadium.

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