Maxwell returns but Perth hit by fresh COVID drama
League leaders Perth Scorchers are scrambling for an emergency replacment wicketkeeper after Cameron Bancroft ruled out of clash with Stars less than two hours before start in Geelong
11 January 2022, 12:30 PM AEST
Melbourne Stars captain Glenn Maxwell is back for this afternoon's match-up with the ladder-leading Perth Scorchers in Geelong having completed his mandatory period of isolation after contracting COVID-19.
But the Perth Scorchers have mixed results from their brush with COVID, welcoming back Jason Behrendorff for today's match, but wicketkeeper-batter Cameron Bancroft is a late out after a "coming into contact with a suspected COVID-19 case this morning".
While Bancroft has since returned a negative rapid antigent test result, he is out of today's match and isolating.
BBL officials have been at pains to not call the move of all BBL players and support staff to Melbourne a 'hub' they are under increased restrictions with health remaining a priority.
His absence creates a major dilemma for the Scorchers, who are now scrambling to find a replacement wicketkeeper with regular gloveman Josh Inglis with Australia's Test squad in Hobart.
The Scorchers are likely to decide between Chris Sabburg and English import Laurie Evans as a stop-gap measure, with a trial in the warm-ups to help head coach Adam Voges make the call.
Other options from the BBL's replacement pool of talent include gloveman Jake Doran, or Brayden Stepien, but it's unclear if they could make their way to Geelong in time for the match.
Behrendorff, meanwhile, returns to the squad after missing their last-start win against the Sydney Sixers on Sunday night. He had missed that game as a precaution after coming into contact with Colin Munro, who has tested positive to COVID-19.
Munro, who currently sits second in the BKT Golden Bat race with 353 runs, remains in isolation and is recovering from the virus.
However, after returning multiple negative rapid test results, Behrendorff has resumed his place in the Scorchers squad and has now been deemed not to be a close contact of Munro after their contact was found to be prior to the New Zealander contracting the virus.
The KFC BBL has faced a significant fixture reshuffling with all teams relocated to Victoria to complete the remainder of the regular season.
Provided he regains full health and fitness, Munro will be available again for the Scorchers' final regular season match on January 19, with WA local Nick Hobson brought into the squad to bolster the side's batting stocks in the New Zealander's absence.
Maxwell's return is another boost for the Stars who are fresh off a tense victory over the Adelaide Strikers at the MCG on Monday night, where Joe Clarke's fourth successive half-century guided them home to a much-needed win.
Marcus Stoinis, another of the plethora of Stars players to contract the virus, has also been named in the Stars' 18-player squad for their GMHBA stadium clash with the Scorchers, after a back injury kept him out of their win over the Strikers.
The Brisbane Heat, meanwhile, are expected to be bolstered by the return of up to 12 regular players on Tuesday, with players set to emerge from their isolation provided they return negative test results and aren’t showing any symptoms.
It is unclear how many will return to playing straight away however, with their next fixture against the Strikers on Wednesday night making it a quick turnaround after a period of illness and isolation.
It means the Heat may be forced to retain many of the eight debutants they blooded throughout this past week, for at least one more match.