Transition no issue as Test stars eye 'massive' game for the Heat

Marnus Labuschagne returns to an 'up and about' Heat side looking to lock in a home final when they face the Scorchers

Australian No.3 Marnus Labuschagne believes there's plenty of time to switch back into red-ball mode ahead of the two-Test series against the West Indies as he eyes another one-game cameo with a Brisbane Heat side out to lock in a home final.

Test wicketkeeper Alex Carey will kick off the Australian international returns to the KFC Big Bash tonight when he fronts up against the Hurricanes, with Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja to feature for the Heat against the Perth Scorchers the following evening.

Steve Smith is also a confirmed starter for the Sixers in the Sydney Smash on Friday night where he gets another chance to push his case to open the batting in Australia's T20 World Cup team later this year.

David Warner is also a possibility of suiting up for the Thunder in that match if he can organise a helicopter to transport him from his brother's wedding that afternoon.

Travis Head won't take the field for the Strikers tonight to manage his workloads between Test series, with allrounder Mitch Marsh and Australia's bowling attack also set to rest up for the rest of the Test summer with the Windies series following by a two-match tour of New Zealand in late February and early March.

"It was a mutual call," Labuschagne said today of the decision to bring him and Khawaja into the squad to face the Scorchers. "It's nice that the clubs want to welcome us back and want us back to play, even the likes of the Heat who are undefeated.

"The way that we've been playing, there's a great energy around the group, I just got here and there's a lot of smiles on faces and people are up and about.

"It's a pretty uncharacteristic long break between (Test) series … we only commence back on Saturday (with the Australian squad) and then probably start training on Sunday, so there's plenty of time to get back into red-ball mode.

"It'll be nice to come out here (to the Gabba) with the crowd tomorrow.

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"The Scorchers have been the pick of the teams for the last few years and to be able to come here tomorrow night, hopefully put in a good performance and help the team finish on top and lock that in will be massive."

If they do beat the Scorchers on Wednesday night, the Heat will secure hosting rights for the Qualifier final on January 19, but that match would be played on the Gold Coast with the Gabba out of action due to preparations for the second Test against the West Indies.

While Labuschagne said it would be disappointing for the Heat not to be able to host the game at the Gabba where they are undefeated in their past five matches and have drawn an average crowd of 25,531 this season, he was sure a final on the Gold Coast would also be "massive".

"It's another opportunity to take the game to the Gold Coast and really see the spread of the fans," he said.

Labuschagne made 30 from 23 balls and Khawaja 28 from 19 in their only appearance of BBL|13 to date, when New Zealand import Colin Munro smashed 99 not out to power the Heat to 3-214 before they bowled the Stars out for 111.

KFC BBL|13 standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 Brisbane Heat Men Brisbane Heat Men HEA 10 7 1 0 2 0.972 0 16
2 Sydney Sixers Men Sydney Sixers Men SIX 10 6 2 0 2 0.339 0 14
3 Perth Scorchers Men Perth Scorchers Men SCO 10 6 3 0 1 0.725 0 13
4 Adelaide Strikers Men Adelaide Strikers Men STR 10 5 4 0 1 0.331 0 11
5 Hobart Hurricanes Men Hobart Hurricanes Men HUR 10 4 6 0 0 -0.268 0 8
6 Melbourne Stars Men Melbourne Stars Men STA 10 4 6 0 0 -1.051 0 8
7 Melbourne Renegades Men Melbourne Renegades Men REN 10 2 6 0 2 -0.288 0 6
8 Sydney Thunder Men Sydney Thunder Men THU 10 1 7 0 2 -0.652 0 4

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points

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