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Heat hope to have Mujeeb for next game

Brisbane Heat hope to have star spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman out of hospital from COVID-19 and back for Monday’s clash with the Sydney Thunder.

Mujeeb has been in Australia for just over a fortnight, but last week tested positive for the coronavirus and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

His current status is unclear, but the Heat were on Friday night hopeful he would be free to leave Gold Coast University Hospital over the weekend and travel to Canberra.

The 19-year-old Afghan’s absence has only added to the franchise’s roster woes, culminating in Friday’s six-wicket loss to Melbourne Stars.

The club had four players featuring in the Australia A match on Friday night rather than the BBL, while Englishman Tom Banton has pulled out of the tournament.

Another English player Lewis Gregory has just began his two weeks’ quarantine on arrival from South Africa, Morne Morkel is injured and Marnus Labuschagne is in the Australian camp.

“It’s tricky. You’re planning your batting order one day and the next day someone is flying out or going into quarantine,” captain Chris Lynn said.

“But you win tournaments around squads and we have the squad to do it.

“Hopefully Mujeeb is available next game … He’s really upbeat. He can’t wait to play.

“He has been part of our Heat family for a number of years now. It’s unfortunate what happened but first and foremost his health is 100 per cent right.

“Hopefully we have him out of quarantine … He’s a world-class player and can be a game changer.”

Lynn knows the Heat need more than just Mujeeb’s wicket-taking nous to help turn things around fast.

He admitted his team were too timid on Friday night with the bat, bowled out for 125 and making just 19 through the four-over opening powerplay.

The Heat are trying to find the right balance between being too reckless – which they’ve been guilty of before – and not falling behind the eight-ball in T20 cricket.

But Lynn said he wouldn’t move himself up to open instead of Sam Heazlett or Max Bryant to fix the slow start, despite the powerplay dropping down from six overs.

“We’ll look at that down the track but I think it’s unfair on the guys to just give them one game,” Lynn said.

“For me it’s all about giving them the confidence to do what they do.”

But he did believe he could find the right tempo in his own game, knowing he has to bat longer in an undermanned top order after scoring 20 from 20 against the Stars.

“It’s the clarity. You’re never going to score runs if you walk out there and are cloudy,” Lynn said.

“I know I have the ability to hit the ball around and keep backing my skills.”

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