Will the coming cavalry be too late to help the sliding Hobart Hurricanes?
T20 star James Faulkner, and Test players Matthew Wade and Tim Paine are due to return for the Hurricanes before the end of the tournament.
But their returns may be too late if Hobart can’t arrest a three-game losing streak.
Tuesday night’s flogging at the hands of the in-form Perth Scorchers at Optus Stadium needs to be a “line-in-the-sand” moment.
The Scorchers, led by an unbeaten 74 from Jason Roy and 54 from fellow opener Liam Livingstone, easily chased down the Hurricane’s total of 5-139 for the loss of just one wicket.
The result pushed Hobart to fifth on the BBL table. The Hurricanes are also the only team other than the two bottom-ranked Melbourne sides to have a negative net run rate.
But opener D’Arcy Short, fresh off a half century against the Scorchers, said his side was not out of the competition.
“We haven’t put a complete batting innings together or a complete bowling innings. It’s always been one or half of one and half of the other,” he said.
“By no means I think we’re out of it. We just haven’t stuck to our plans or at least we’re not backing ourselves in our plans to do what we were doing when we were winning.
“It’s about just getting back to that, reiterating to ourselves that what we were doing before was working.”
A long night for the 'Canes. 😅#TasmaniasTeam #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/QtAUFyL6dP
The Hurricanes started the competition as well as anyone, winning five of their first seven games.
But they have been without Faulkner since their fifth game, their second loss, due to a hamstring injury.
He is running again, but the Hurricanes are monitoring him after each training session and won’t rush him back.
All BBL clubs are waiting to find out when their Australian Test players will be available. The fourth Test is scheduled to finish on January 19.
And then hubs, bubbles, COVID outbreaks and state quarantine rules will become a factor.
The Hurricanes next game, against the Sydney Thunder, is in Canberra on January 18. They then play the Scorchers, at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, on January 22.
Their final two games, at the MCG, are against the Sydney Sixers and the Melbourne Renegades.
But Short said Hobart could not afford to look that far ahead.
“They are in the arsenal to come back, but the team we have at the moment still has to get us there,” he said.
“For them to come back we have to play well in games we have in front of us.
“If we get them back for the last game or the finals, that will bolster us up, but we’ve got to take it game by game and get to the finals first.”
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