The Sixers Big Bash League side travel to the MCG on Saturday night for a must-win match against the top-of-the-table Melbourne Stars and will take some inside knowledge with them.
Paceman Jackson Bird is a former Stars player, but now happily plies his trade in the magenta and says the Sixers can claim a Finals spot by beating the Stars on Saturday.
“I’ll have a little inside knowledge for the guys,” said Bird, who is in his second season with the Sixers.
“It’s going to be good to get back to the MCG and play against my old team. I had a great time playing for the Stars, but I’m really loving playing for the Sixers."
After winning four games so far in BBL|06, and unless other results go their way before then, the Sixers will have to beat the Stars as the sides around them have superior net run rates.
The Stars, though, will be without a number of key players who were selected in the current Australian ODI squad, but Bird says they will still be tough opposition.
“It’s a must-win game for us. It’s going to be a hard game against the Stars, they’re a quality opposition,” said Bird.
“I suppose what better way to get back into Finals contention than having a good win over the Stars.”
Against the Thunder in the Sydney Smash on Saturday night, Bird admitted the side were below their best but can turn it around this Saturday.
“It was a disappointing game for us in all departments,” said Bird.
“I think we didn’t bat well enough, we didn’t bowl well and we weren’t up to our high standards in the field as well.
“We do set ourselves high standards and we weren’t up to them the other night, which was disappointing but we can turn it around again on Saturday and that’s a must win game. So, I think we have to turn it around otherwise we will be out of the competition early.”
Bird was a substitute fielder for much of Australia’s Third Test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground and took four catches during the game. Against the Renegades last week, Bird took another three and made it eight catches at the SCG in January when he snared another in the Sydney Smash.
“The ball seems to be following me around at the moment,” joked Bird. “I’m not really sure how I feel about that but I suppose it’s nice not to drop them!”
On Sunday, Bird was selected in the Australian Test for the upcoming tour of India alongside Sixers Official Ambassador Steve Smith and four other current Sixers team mates, including Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe.
Touring India is one of the toughest tasks in Test cricket but Bird was quietly confident about the national team’s chances.
“India is always an interesting place to go to. It’s going to be a tough tour for us no doubt,” said Bird.
“We haven’t got a very good record in the sub-continent. It’s going to be a tough tour but it will be a rewarding tour if we can manage to win over there.
“I think a couple of boys were saying this will definitely be, if we can win in India, it will be a career highlight for all of us. We’re all looking forward to getting over there and hopefully we can do a little bit better than what we did last time we were over there.”
The Sixers play the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Saturday night with the game starting at 7.25pm AEDT and broadcast live on Channel Ten.