Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Justin Chadwick

Scorchers in awe of red-hot Steve Smith

Perth Scorchers are hoping the extremely-gifted Steve Smith doesn't fire in their BBL showdown. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Perth Scorchers import Stephen Eskinazi says he's simply in awe of Steve Smith, but he hopes the star Sydney Sixers batsman will produce a rare flop in Saturday's blockbuster BBL clash at Optus Stadium.

The winner of 'The Qualifier' will earn direct entry into the grand final, with Smith looming as the Sixers' biggest weapon.

Smith was largely overlooked for selection during Australia's doomed T20 World Cup campaign last year.

But the former Test skipper has since proven he still has plenty to give in the shortest format of the game, cracking scores of 36, 101, 125no and 66 in his four knocks for the Sixers this BBL season.

Smith's hot form at the top of the order has caught the eye of the Scorchers, who are on red alert for the 33-year-old.

"I'm in awe really," Eskinazi said.

"I'm particularly amazed by his transformation. The reason why he's the best is he keeps reinventing himself in every form of the game.

"He's been an idol of mine and so many players around the world for so long.

"He obviously has a bit of a point to prove after the World Cup, and he's certainly doing that.

"It's a privilege to play against the world's best in this competition, but we'll be hoping he lobs one up the chimney in the first couple of deliveries and they're 0-1."

The Scorchers enter the match with a series of selection dilemmas on the bowling front.

Star spinner Ashton Agar won't be available due to his training camp commitments leading up to the four-Test tour of India, while there are still question marks over the fitness of pace duo Jhye Richardson and Matt Kelly.

Richardson hasn't played since tweaking his hamstring on January 4, while Kelly suffered a concussion and required stitches after being struck in the face with a ball during a freak fielding mishap against the Melbourne Renegades on Sunday.

Pace ace Lance Morris is expected to return from illness while spinner Peter Hatzoglou is desperate to earn a recall after being a surprise omission from the XI against the Renegades.

Eskinazi hopes Richardson will be passed fit to play.

"I think he's a guy that rises to the big occasions," he said.

"He brings such raw, scary pace at the top of the order and he swings the ball from a good length."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.