Coming back in 2021/22 from a long injury layoff, Hayden Kerr could scarcely have imagined the heights he would reach with the Sydney Sixers in the 11th edition of the Big Bash.
But as he prepares for tomorrow's qualifying final against the Perth Scorchers, Kerr is currently the Sixers' highest wicket-taker in the competition with 22 to his name.
Following Sydney's victory over the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday, in which he took 3-23, the Bowral native said the thought of leading the team's bowling charts was "funny".
"I've never really thought of myself as a bowler as much as a batsman before I came into this tournament," Kerr said.
"It's something I've been working on and I suppose it's paid off just going back and plying my trade a bit in the grade comps. And maybe there's the element of surprise considering the other guys haven't faced much of me before."
Victory tomorrow night would secure the Sixers a direct path into the grand final, which is scheduled for a week from today and would be the team's third successive BBL grand final.
But the Scorchers present an imposing roadblock to the men in pink, with a well-rounded bowling lineup to go alongside powerhouse batters, including Mitchell Marsh who has been in imperious form this season.
This, however, does not phase Kerr, who has earned the full trust of captain Moises Henriques. He elaborated on their relationship, and said the pair were usually on the same wavelength when it comes to bowling tactics.
"He's asking what I think and seeing if that matches up with the situation and what he might want from me," Kerr said.
"Most of the time, it's pretty spot on. But a couple of times, and it's resulted in wickets, where he suggested maybe going slow and wide for example when I'm thinking of something else, and almost all of those times has resulted in an opportunity."
Arguably Kerr's biggest strength throughout the season has been his versatility and willingness to play whatever role is needed by the team.
This, he said, will not change going in to finals, where he is simply looking forward to an opportunity to help the team to what would be its fourth BBL title.
"Hopefully [I'll play] wherever I can fit in if selected," Kerr said.
"I've tried to play a part as much as I can whilst I'm on the field and really do a job, so if I'm selected in those finals teams I really want to put my best foot forward for the side."
The Sydney Sixers will play the Perth Scorchers on Saturday, January 22, from 7.15pm at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne.
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