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  5. Ex-Australian cricketer makes switch to Italy in bid to play 2026 T20 World Cup in India after brother's death

Ex-Australian cricketer makes switch to Italy in bid to play 2026 T20 World Cup in India after brother's death

Joe Burns, the 34-year-old Australian batter is set to make a move to Italy for the latter part of his career after confirming his brother's death which happened earlier this year. Burns, who represented Australia in 29 matches across two formats, last played for his country in 2020 against India.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: May 28, 2024 9:25 IST
Joe Burns last played for Australia in the Boxing Day Test
Image Source : GETTY Joe Burns last played for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against India in 2020

Former Australian batter Joe Burns is set to make a late-career switch to ply his trade for Italy in a bid to play the 2026 T20 World Cup, which takes place in India. Burns took to Instagram on Tuesday, May 28 to reveal his brother's death earlier this year and as a tribute to him, he will be wearing the jersey No 85. Burns shared pictures of his jersey for Italy with the number 85, which his brother wore in club cricket.

Burns didn't play for Queensland in the last round matches in the Sheffield Shield and was dropped from his state team's contract list for 2024-25. Burns' three-year Big Bash League contract with the Melbourne Stars also came to an end. Still mourning his brother's death, Burns hoped that his brother's jersey number will keep him strong as he and his family haven't been able to cope with the loss but mentioned that he still wants to play for him.

"This isn't just a number and this isn't just a jersey. This is for the people who I know will be looking down proudly from above," Burns wrote in an elaborate Instagram post. "In February of this year my brother sadly passed away. 85 was his number in the last team he played (and his birth year) for the mighty Northern Federals in sub-districts.

"The days, weeks and months since my brother's death have been the toughest I could ever imagine. I'm not too proud to admit that it's been a daily battle that I often lose. While a part of my soul feels like it will always be missing, I know this shirt will carry on his spirit and give me strength. It's the hours playing as kids and connection with him that taught me to love this game," Burns added.

Burns qualified to play for Italy through his mother's heritage and mentioned that he wants to go back to his roots. Italy are grouped with France, Isle of Man, Luxembourg and Turkey in the sub-regional qualifiers, set to take place in Rome from June 9-16, which is the pathway for the qualification of T20 World Cup 2026.

"I often reflect on the bravery and commitment it must have taken my Grandparents when they left Italy to start a new life in Australia," Burns continued in his post. "They found a way to make it work through adversity and this has always given me solace through life's lessons.

"I'm so proud to represent Italy on our path to the 2026 World Cup. The fields of Rome may be a long way from the Gabba, MCG or our front yard growing up, but I feel like I'm coming home," Burns signed off.

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