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Big Bash League: Jhye Richardson backs pace duo Matt Kelly, Joel Paris to fill Jason Behrendorff’s void

Jhye Richardson has backed Joel Paris and Matt Kelly to fill the void left by Perth Scorchers seamer Jason Behrendorff, who has made the cross-country dash to Perth for the birth of his second child.

Close mates Paris and Kelly are vying for the final spot in the bowling attack ahead of Wednesday night’s clash against Melbourne Stars in Launceston.

Richardson said Australian limited-overs international Paris was more of a “like-for-like replacement” for Behrendorff, playing a similar role as a left-arm swing bowler.

The 24-year-old also felt Kelly, who he shared the new ball with on several occasions last summer, would be a worthy addition to the XI alongside himself, Andrew Tye and leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed.

In his long-awaited return from a back injury 673 days in the making, Behrendorff bowled a lot better than his figures of 0-34 showed, nearly claiming the prized scalp of top-scorer Shaun Marsh several times.

He is expected to re-join the travelling party in Canberra ahead of game three against Sydney Thunder on Tuesday.

“All of our guys are ready to go,” Richardson told reporters.

“If we look at doing a like-for-like replacement then someone like Joel Paris could potentially come in and swing the new ball like ‘Dorff’ did the other night at the top of the order.

“We’ve got Matt Kelly as well who has proved himself and is performing really well in the nets as well so any of those guys are pumped and ready to go.”

Richardson was the Scorchers’ shining light in their disappointing seven-wicket loss to Melbourne Renegades on Saturday.

The whippy right-arm speedster finished with impressive figures of 2-20 from 3.3 overs including the big scalps of opening pair Marsh (62) and Aaron Finch (35).

He said there were a couple of “pretty obvious” areas to improve on heading into another tough assignment against the in-form Stars, coming off back-to-back wins.

Perth were bundled out for a mediocre total of 130 after losing three wickets during the power play, with top-three batsmen Colin Munro (0), Josh Inglis (9) and Joe Clarke (10) combining for 19.

“There’s a couple of points that are pretty obvious,” Richardson said.

“One was not making enough runs and the second was our top order probably not doing as well as they would’ve liked.

“When you lose a few wickets in the first power play, with the first power play only being four overs now, it makes it difficult to come back.

“It almost makes it a consolidation game rather than a game that we can take on head on so those couple of points are definitely going to be at the top of the list to try and combat next game.

“But we’re still looking to come back and be hungry to win, it’s such a long season and that we’re not going to count ourselves out after the first round.”

Richardson said spin-bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar was unlikely to play until the Perth leg of the tournament as he recovers from a calf injury.

Scorchers squad v Stars: Fawad Ahmed, Cam Bancroft, Joe Clarke, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Matt Kelly, Mitch Marsh, Colin Munro, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Corey Rocchiccioli, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman.

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