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Jackson Bird fit for BBL-topping Sixers

For a horrible moment former Test seamer Jackson Bird feared the worst for his cricket career.

Playing for Australia A against touring India last month at age 34 and while managing a sore Achilles tendon, Bird felt pain shoot up his leg.

“It just pinged a bit … I thought I snapped my Achilles there for a split second,” Bird said.

“It’s hard to come back from that at my age I would have thought.

“But luckily that didn’t happen. I’m not ready to retire just yet.”

The injury proved to be a calf strain, bad enough to ruin the start of Bird’s second Big Bash season with the Sydney Sixers but not enough to sideline him long-term.

Bird is now back bowling at full intensity, and got through a final fitness test on Thursday to make himself available for the ladder leaders’ clash with the Brisbane Heat on Saturday.

But the timing still hurt Bird.

He took 14 wickets in the last three rounds of the Sheffield Shield on flat wickets in Adelaide.

“It’s very frustrated getting injured when I did because I felt like I was bowling as well as I have,” he said.

“My body was feeling really really good and it was just one of those unfortunate things that it was unfortunate timing as well.

“But I don’t think the injury has put me back too much.

“The ball’s been coming out and honestly the last couple of days of training I have been swinging the bowling at a good length.”

Bird could come into the Sixers side as replacement for the departed Jason Holder, while Englishman Jake Ball is also available.

The Heat will have Joe Burns back after he was dropped from Australia’s Test squad and Bird warned he could be a threat for the Heat with the shackles released.

“He has obviously had his struggles over the past few months,” Bird said.

“You don’t like to see anyone go through that, a lot of scrutiny on his performances from the media and the general public on social media.

“When you’re going through a period like that, to get dropped, it’s almost like getting the bandaid ripped off.

“It relieves some of the pressure off you and Twenty20 is a format where you can come in and just play freely.”

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