Travis Head and Alex Carey are unlikely to make the immediate leap back into the Big Bash as soon as Tuesday night.
But there will still be an injection of Test stars this week to offset a mass exodus of international talent.
The pair of South Australians join a group that includes David Warner, fresh off a man-of-the-series effort in the take-down of South Africa, for the back-end of the BBL, with international duties for the home summer done.
Their inclusion comes as conflicting T20 leagues around the world, including new tournaments in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, strips the BBL of significant talent, with 16 players now gone, including superstar Faf du Plessis.
Warner will replace outgoing Englishman Alex Hales at the Thunder, most likely for their next match on Friday at the Sydney Showground.
It will be his first match in the tournament since BBL 03, nearly a decade ago, having signed a lucrative deal organised by Cricket Australia to stand outside his central contract.
Returns for other Test stars will be determined by workloads.
Test star Steve Smith will also link up with the Sydney Sixers, after a late deal similar to Warner’s was done, but won’t be required until Sunday at the earliest given the team has an extended break.
If Smith’s interest in the Sixers group chat are any indication, he’s stirring for his return, with Test spinner Nathan Lyon also to join the team.
“But in saying that, we get two pretty world-class players coming in as well.”
Opener Usman Khawaja, who was left stranded on 195 in the third Test at the SCG after rain forced Australian captain Pat Cummins into a declaration, could be the first to suit up on Wednesday night in Brisbane.
Khawaja revealed he told Cummins to “take the emotion out” of his decision, having been “cooked” by Sydney’s wet weather.
“I could sort of feel it off Patty, you can sort of walk past and sense this awkward tension and I was like, ‘Yeah, I know what he’s thinking’,” Khawaja told SEN on Monday.
“But it was all right, I actually made the effort, I went up to him and said, ‘Mate, do whatever you need to, don’t worry about me, you’ve got to try and win a Test match, we’ve all got to try and win a Test match’.
“What kind of teammate would I be if we weren’t trying to do that? I was putting myself in front of him and said, ‘Just take the emotion out of it’. He was like, ‘I appreciate that’, so it was fine.”
Khawaja made the move to the Heat from the Thunder this season and could be joined on-field on Wednesday night by Test teammates Marnus Labuschagne and Matt Renshaw.
That leaves just Cummins and Josh Hazlewood out of the Australian XI from Sydney who won’t be joining the BBL.
Head and Carey may need to combine to offset the loss of Chris Lynn, the BBL’s leading run-scorer this season, who is off to the UAE.
BIG BASH BOUND
(From Australian XI in final Test)
Sydney Thunder – David Warner
Sydney Sixers – Steve Smith, Nathan Lyon
Adelaide Strikers – Travis Head, Alex Carey
Brisbane Heat – Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Renshaw
Perth Scorchers – Ashton Agar
No BBL deals – Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood
BIG BASH EXITS
Sydney Thunder – Alex Hales, Rilee Rossouw
Sydney Sixers – James Vince, Chris Jordan, Naveen-ul-Haq Murid
Adelaide Strikers – Chris Lynn, Rashid Khan
Brisbane Heat – Sam Billings, Colin Munro
Perth Scorchers – Faf du Plessis, Adam Lyth
Melbourne Stars – Trent Boult
Melbourne Renegades – Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Akeal Hosein
Hobart Hurricanes – Jimmy Neesham, Shadab Khan