Weatherald firms for Strikers return after blazing double-ton
Star opener pummels 229 after being overlooked for Shield return, while Strikers in box seat to retain him despite interest from Sixers
25 February 2021, 05:31 PM AEST
Jake Weatherald is expected to spurn interest from reigning KFC BBL champions the Sydney Sixers and re-sign with the Adelaide Strikers, while a match-winning double-century in a second XI game looks set to ensure his Marsh Sheffield Shield absence is short-lived.
Weatherald sent a strong indication he is ready to return to first-class cricket this week after amassing 229 off 276 balls for the Redbacks' second XI in a come-from-behind victory over ACT/NSW Country at Karen Rolton Oval.
The 26-year-old missed SA's last two games of the Adelaide Sheffield Shield bubble last year for mental health reasons, but has since played a full BBL for the Strikers and finished as their leading run scorer.
With his previous Strikers deal expiring at the end of BBL|10, Weatherald shaped as one of the most sought-after off-contract batters ahead of next season.
The left-hander was the hero of the Strikers' BBL|07 title after hitting a century in the final, while his tally of 1551 runs over the past four BBL season has been bettered by only three players (teammate Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis and D'Arcy Short).
The Sixers are believed to have been keen on partnering him with friend Josh Philippe, while the Melbourne Renegades also showed interest, but the Strikers now appear likely to secure Weatherald's signature.
BBL teams are not currently permitted to add to their roster until Cricket Australia lift a contracting embargo, though clubs were able to re-sign existing players before the end of last season.
Weatherald's anticipated re-signing comes as cricket.com.au reported the Sydney Thunder's Ollie Davies, another batter who was set to attract interest from BBL clubs, is also expected to remain with his current team.
Weatherald would join key Strikers Carey, skipper Travis Head as well as Matthew Renshaw and Wes Agar on their list for next season.
Rather than taking him to Perth for their Sheffield Shield game that begun today, South Australia – winless from four games and sitting bottom of the standings – instead handed Weatherald the captaincy for this week's second XI clash in Adelaide.
The opener edged Nathan McAndrew to be dismissed for eight in SA's first dig of 252 but found his groove in the second innings as he struck 29 boundaries and three sixes in a six-and-a-half-hour knock.
It fired the SA seconds, who had conceded a 155-run first-innings lead, to an unlikely final-day victory.
"Jake wasn't in the last two Shield games that we played, and selectors felt that coming back into four-day mode it would be a great opportunity for him to get some cricket in the second XI game that started today and to lead that side," Redbacks coach Jason Gillespie said of Weatherald this week.
"To have some leadership opportunities there and get some four-day cricket in.
"We're excited about that and hopefully re-integrate him back into four-day cricket at some point during the season."