Jordan Silk says the Sydney Sixers are ready to return to life without the mercurial Steve Smith ahead of Thursday’s BBL Challenger final against the Brisbane Heat.
The Sixers were forced into a last-ditch playoff game with the Heat after their seven-wicket loss to the Scorchers in Perth and have “no choice but to move on” despite also facing the loss of their top order maestro, according to Silk.
Sydney has lost Smith to Australia’s test tour of India for the remainder of the finals, but the Heat has also been affected, with its “big three” of Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Matt Renshaw all out on national duty.
Silk said his side had been “blessed” by Smith’s five-game cameo, which yielded 346 runs, including two centuries at a blistering strike rate of 174.74.
“That was some of the most incredible batting I think we’ll ever see in Big Bash cricket in that four or five game stretch,” he says.
“But we’ve played 12 games this year and had a few wins along the way … we’re familiar with this group and it’s a chance for someone like Daniel Hughes to potentially come back in and play a role there.”
The 33-year-old Hughes, who was squeezed out of the Sixers’ line-up at the start of the season to accommodate Perth Scorchers recruit Kurtis Patterson, could open or bat at number three in Thursday night’s clash at the SCG.
Earlier this summer his name was thrown around for a potential ODI debut following a scintillating start to the Marsh Cup with NSW, where he made three centuries in five innings to top the run-scoring charts.
“(Hughes) has trained well, he’s been great around the group all year; he’s probably one of the more unlucky players in the competition, to not be playing Big Bash cricket this year,” Silk said.
“We know his white ball form for NSW has been awesome this summer – he’s been a reliable performer at the Sixers for a number of years, so if he gets an opportunity back into this side, we’re confident he’s been doing all the work he can behind the scenes to make sure he’s ready.”
Silk, who has signed on for a 10th BBL season with the Sixers in 2023/24, said he still felt like he was living out a “boyhood dream”.
“Growing up in the Blue Mountains, coming to watch games at the SCG … to have been able to call it a home for a number of seasons is awesome, and I’m glad that it’s been able to continue,” he said.
“We’re so used to playing with each other – it’s no secret the success has been there.
“I feel like we deserve that ultimate success come the end of the season.”