Richardson is likely to be a tough luck story for defending champions Scorchers, who entered the home grand final after a seven-wicket win over arch-rivals Sydney Sixers.
After suffering a minor hamstring injury against Sydney Thunder on 4 January, Richardson was set to return in time for the finals series, but his recovery took longer than expected.
Outside Australia’s Test team, Richardson has played three Test matches with his most recent being the Adelaide Ashes Test in December 2021, where he took five wickets on the final day to lead Australia to a memorable victory.
But the 26-year-old Richardson was ruled out for an extended period ahead of the BBL season this summer due to a heel injury.
With fresh doubts over Richardson’s ability to stay on the field, the Scorchers are set to remain cautious with regards to his long-term future.
Turner said, “Jhai is an exciting cricketer, but he is still a young man.” “He gives a lot to his body. But we also have a bit of attitude. Jhe has a lot of cricket ahead of him, in the Orange, playing for WA, playing for Australia, playing for franchises around the world.
“She’s too critical of her body to put unnecessary risk on it. I don’t think it’s fair to put someone’s young body under too much stress.”
Perth Scorchers is heavy on the specialist spinner
Richardson’s absence will be a blow for the Scorchers considering his choice for the big stage, having taken seven wickets in the last three Grand Finals, including a player of the match performance against the Sixers in the BBL06 decider.
Reliable legspinner Peter Hetzoglou and pacer Matt Kelly are set to battle it out to replace Morris, who missed the Sixers match due to concussion protocol after suffering a freak facial injury while fielding against the Melbourne Renegades.
The Scorchers went into the clash against the Sixers without a specialist spinner, having not used part-timers Turner and Cooper Connolly.
“We have to assess the circumstances,” Turner said. “Peter Hatzoglu has bowled really well for us over the years. He is someone who should be playing at this level. He has a proven track record, he has won us matches.”
His performance was even more impressive with Payne a questionable starter after feeling unwell and being forced to separate from his teammates.
Turner said of England’s Payne, “We have a lot of faith in every player in our team. We trust what they have to say. He is such a valuable inclusion in our team.” tournament due to a family emergency.
“It’s been a smooth transition for him. He’s been great to our dressing room. Thankfully he’s now got a few days to rest.”
50,000 fans expected for BBL final
After such an impressive win over the Sixers, lapped up by over 41,000 vocal fans, the Scorchers have cemented their status as the competition’s powerhouse franchise on and off the field.
As the Scorchers attempt back-to-back wins and a fifth title overall, 50,000 spectators are expected at the Optus Stadium, which will host the BBL Grand Final for the first time.
Only an Australia–England ODI match and a BBL semi-final between the Scorchers and Hurricanes have attracted crowds in excess of 50,000 for cricket at the venue and both of these matches were held soon after Burswood Stadium opened in early 2018. .
Irrespective of whom they play, the Scorchers will be favorites after winning 12 of their last 13 matches at home.
Sixers quick Sean Abbott said, “It’s a distinct home ground advantage.” “Those guys play their home conditions very well.”
Tristan Lovelett is a journalist based in Perth