Kieron Pollard makes his Strikers debut against Brisbane. Picture: Simon Cross/adelaidenow.com.au
Big hitting West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard will finally make his Adelaide Strikers debut against Brisbane Heat on Thursday, after being ruled out of last season tournament before it began. The 25 year-old was slated to play for the Strikers during Big Bash 01 but suffered a hamstring injury in a trial match that kept him out of the event. He is no stranger to Australian audiences however, having enjoyed a stint with South Australia during its successful campaign in the 2010/11 season. Despite playing only four matches for the Redbacks, Pollard maintained an average of 187.34 in scoring 148 runs at an average of 49.33, while his bowling was also effective, collecting six wickets an conceding just over six runs an over.
With Saeed Ajmal returning to Pakistan and Phil Hughes and Nathan Lyon on national duty, Pollard’s inclusion will be one of several changes that coach Darren Berry will make to his side. Paceman Shaun Tait could line up in Strikers colours for the first time since being signed from the Renegades while one of Brad Young or Cameron Boyce will play as Berry continues his ‘spin to win’ policy. Teenager Travis Head is a candidate to fill the opening spot vacated by Hughes, while James Smith is another player that could come into the side. After smashing 42 from just 26 balls against the Scorchers, Nathan Reardon gets another chance to impress against several of his Qld Bulls teammates.
Like Reardon, Dan Christian also faces many of his regular state colleagues in this match. The South Australian allrounder starred for the Heat against Hobart on Sunday coach Darren Lehmann will again look for him to provide some impetus in the middle over after opening the new campaign with 49 from 34 balls. Joe Burns was the other Brisbane batsman to impress at the Gabba and he is one of several players that could replace Shane Watson at the top of the order, while skipper James Hopes is another that has opened in the past. Cameron Gannon is likely to be replaced by West Indies pace spearhead Kemar Roach, while Alister McDermott could also be in contention for a recall if recovered from the injury that kept him sidelined from that match against the Hurricanes.
When these sides met at the Gabba last season the Strikers scored a 31 run win over the Heat to confirm the superiority (4 wins -1 defeat) of South Australian based sides over those based in Queensland in Twenty20 cricket. Sunday’s win in Perth was the first time that the Strikers had won in four attempts batting second.
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