BBL 2023-24 – Izharulhaq Naveed returns to Sydney Sixers as Rehan Ahmed withdraws


Sydney Sixers have brought back Afghanistan legspinner Izharulhaq Naveed for this season’s BBL after England’s Rehan Ahmed withdrew from the tournament following selection in both white-ball formats for the tour of West Indies.

Naveed was a surprising pick by Sixers at the inaugural BBL draft last year but went on to claim nine wickets in nine games with an economy rate of 7.37 and impressed enough to be top of the list when the club were looking for a replacement.

“We are not going to get to see Rehan Ahmed this season but we wish him well, and at the same time welcome Naveed back to the club,” Sixers coach Greg Shipperd said. “We are fortunate to have been able to bring back a player of Naveed’s talent and we know he will fit in with our group.

“Our spinning group is building nicely with SOK [O’Keefe], Todd and young Joel Davies, whose left arm offies complement his strong batting and fielding.”

Sixers did not resign Nathan Lyon who has instead moved to Melbourne Renegades and is set to face his former club in their opening game of the season at the SCG before heading off for Test duty.

Sixers will have Steven Smith available for that game, and hope to also see him for the derby against Sydney Thunder on January 12. Murphy won’t be part of the opening match as he has been selected for the Prime Minister’s XI to face Pakistan.

Rehan joins Harry Brook as England players to withdraw from the BBL. Zak Crawley, who has signed with Perth Scorchers, will also have a delayed arrival after he was included for the ODI leg of the West Indies tour which finishes on December 10.

Meanwhile, Davies is currently with the Australia T20I squad in India as part of a learning and development opportunity. He is not officially part of the tour but will act as a net bowler for the final days of the trip.

Other recent overseas signings confirmed for the BBL include England left-armer David Payne joining Adelaide Strikes as Rashid Khan’s replacement and allrounder Liam Dawson signing with Melbourne Stars for the first three games of the captain.

Payne was part of Perth Scorchers’ title-winning side last season and Strikers’ head coach Jason Gillespie was pleased to lure him across.

“He is a proven performer at the highest level and will bring a wealth of experience to our team,” Gillespie said. “His wicket-taking ability, skills in the field and positivity around the group will all be invaluable to our outfit.”

A number of clubs are expected to confirm further overseas additions in the coming days ahead of the start of the tournament on December 7.


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