Brisbane Heat close to unleashing Morne Morkel


South African speedster Morne Morkel’s frustrating wait to make his Brisbane Heat debut is set to end on Wednesday night.

The Heat, who meet the Sydney Sixers at Metricon Stadium on Sunday night, have applied to the BBL technical committee to reinstate Morkel into their squad as he nears his return to playing.

Morkel, 36, was replaced in the Heat squad by teenage spinner Jack Sinfield while undergoing injury rehabilitation on an injured ankle.

The former Perth Scorchers paceman, who lives in NSW, was then forced into a period of quarantine after being caught up in the Northern Beaches COVID outbreak in Sydney.

But having bowled at full pace at training on Saturday, Morkel been earmarked to play on Wednesday night against the Melbourne Renegades

“We’ll see how he goes over the next few sessions but it’s looking promising for next week,’’ Heat coach Darren Lehmann said.

“Morne has been working very hard to be right and we have been deliberately cautious with his preparations because we know he can fill a very important part of the squad for the remaining games.

“He’s been brilliant with the rest of the bowling group while he has been returning and I know the young blokes have picked up some very handy insights as we have gone along.”

Star spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman is set to play two more matches for the Heat before leaving to represent Afghanistan in a limited over series against Ireland in Abu Dhabi this month.

“It looks like the Renegades game (on Wednesday) will be the last one for Mujeeb,’’ Lehmann said.

“It’s been wonderful having him again and we believe his bowling has gone to a new level this summer.”

Meanwhile, the Sixers have taken a cautious approach with star bowler Ben Dwarshuis by ruling him out of Sunday night’s battle with the Heat.

Dwarshuis only bowled one over in the Sixers’ embarrassing 86-run midweek loss to the Perth Scorchers before being taken out of the game.

Having been diagnosed with a minor groin strain, Dwarshuis won’t play on Sunday.

Had the game been a final, the Sixers would have almost certainly selected the 26-year-old left-armer.

But rather than risk Dwarshuis aggravating the injury, the Sixers will rest him and hope he’s fit enough to play in Wednesday’s derby against the Sydney Thunder at Manuka Oval.

The game was originally scheduled to take place at the Sydney Showground Stadium, but it is one of three matches that have been shifted to Manuka Oval.

The others are next Saturday’s Sixers-Scorchers clash that had been scheduled for the SCG, and the January 18 Thunder-Hurricanes game that was to be played at the Sydney Showground Stadium.

Sixers general manager Jodie Hawkins said the priority was to complete the season.

“We’re having daily conversations with Cricket Australia around the schedule and making sure

we can continue to deliver the Big Bash season,” Hawkins said.

“What we’re finding with these little COVID flare-ups is the border rules are changing fairly frequently, so we’ve got to adapt to that on the run.”



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