Jackson Bird grew up playing junior cricket on the Northern Beaches about 20 kilometres from the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground and this summer the Test bowler will return ‘home’ after signing on with the Sydney Sixers.
Bird, 32, who plays Sheffield Shield for Tasmania, has been a contracted player for every season of the Big Bash League – with the Melbourne Stars from BBL|01-04 and last summer in BBL|08, and with the Sixers from BBL|05-7 and now in BBL|09.
The veteran of nine Tests said he was over the moon to be returning to his hometown and the Sydney Sixers.
“I am really excited about coming back to the Sixers,” Bird said.
“I’ve had three years at the Sixers in the past and didn’t play well so I want to come back and really contribute.
“Getting back with the guys I have played with before and returning to the SCG is awesome and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Bird said there will be a number of familiar faces that he has either played with, played against or played under.
“The Sixers are a well-rounded team that went close last year,” Bird said.
“They have a heap of good batters and a different array of bowlers with spinners like Lloyd Pope coming through and then Steve O’Keefe, guys like Sean Abbott and Tom Curran.
“I played with James Vince at Hampshire and he is top class. Josh Philippe hits the ball nearly as cleanly as anyone I have ever played with or against and I am excited about playing with him.
“Tom Curran is a world class white ball bowler. He’s a different type of bowler than I am and I hope I can pick up some tips from him.
“I’ve played under Shippy (coach Greg Shipperd) before and I am looking forward to doing that again and doing it well.
“I’m a senior player now and I hope I can help with game plans, help with looking at what balls we can bowl to what fields and help younger guys. My advice will be to keep things simple and execute that well.”
Sixers head coach Greg Shipperd said Bird’s experience in all conditions was a huge bonus for his squad.
“Jackson continues to be one of Australia’s very best and respected all form bowlers and we know he will play an integral role in our chase for a title,” Shipperd said.
“Jackson’s skill with the new ball and experience will complement our emerging young pace attack in a format that demands flexible and multiple role playing.
“He’s an excellent fielder and now capable of clearing the fence with the willow. He was really an all- round option we felt we had to have.”
Shipperd said this season’s more compact fixture meant clubs may need to rotate bowlers throughout the season.
“With this season’s tightened schedule, quick turnarounds and multiple flights across the country, the depth and durability of your attack will surely be tested, so the addition of a player like Jackson is timely and welcomed,” he said.Tickets to both the BBL and WBBL are on sale now via https://www.sydneysixers.com.au/tickets