Australian Test hopeful Marcus Harris is set to be forced back to grade cricket to press his claims this summer after the Melbourne Renegades chose not to offer him a new contract.
The Renegades confirmed on Wednesday the left-hander would not return to the franchise for the upcoming tournament after being pushed out by the signings of Quinton de Kock and Joe Clarke in the international player draft and Australian under-19 prodigy Harry Dixon.
It’s understood the uncertainty over Harris’ Test commitments this summer as a CA-contracted player has also made it difficult for him to find a BBL club.
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There are question marks over the fitness of 40-year-old Shaun Marsh heading into the Renegades’ tournament opener against the Sydney Sixers on December 9, but the form of Jake Fraser-McGurk for South Australia along with the return to fitness of captain Nic Maddinson has left no room for Harris in the top order.
Former England batter Ian Bell, who will coach the Renegades’ batting group this season after reuniting with head coach David Saker, said he was excited to work with their diverse blend of youth and experience.
“Looking at the squad, it’s a nice blend between some senior players and younger players … it’s what you want as a coach because you can do so much off the field, but if they get the opportunity to bat with those guys, they’ll learn so much,” Bell said.
“Hopefully we can get Sos (Shaun Marsh) and Finchy up to speed and they can lead from the front.”
The last remaining inaugural Renegade, Finch took to the field in a practice match against the Brisbane Heat at the CitiPower Centre on Thursday as he prepares for what could be his farewell campaign in Australian domestic cricket.
Bell said working with the white-ball batting great would be hugely beneficial to his own coaching career, with sights set on one day coaching the English team.
“I’ve tried to stay away from roles in England where I played a lot of my cricket and look for those challenging ones to grow as much as I can,” he said.
“I get to work with David Saker and the likes of Finchy (Aaron Finch) here will be great for me as a young coach going forward.”