Ballarat trip a good start for Big Bash season

DANIEL Harris remembers coming to Ballarat to pan for gold as a youngster, a search that failed to yield any great results.

Now the Melbourne Renegades top-order batsman is hoping his return – decades later – will prove more fruitful.

Harris and the Renegades will arrive in town for the Wipe Off 5 Ballarat Bush Bash on Friday and will stay here until they close the community camp with two Twenty20 fixtures against the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy squad at Eastern Oval on Sunday.

It will be here that Harris, a former first-class cricketer for the South Australian Redbacks, will get a much-needed hit-out ahead of the Renegades’ Big Bash League season-opener against the Melbourne Stars on December 20.

Harris, who signed from the Adelaide Strikers at the start of last year’s BBL, but had only a modest campaign opening the batting, said the Ballarat trip was an important process in the squad’s preparation for the new season.

“It’s important for the side and individually. I need to get some runs to get a game and put pressure on coaching staff to pick me,” he said.

“It’s a really exciting time for the Rengades and me as well.”

Harris is in good form at present, having made 111 from just 58 balls while playing for Fitzroy-Doncaster in the weekend’s Victorian Premier Cricket Twenty20 country round.

The 33-year-old, who is a doctor in an emergency ward in Adelaide, has been able to extend his playing career at an elite level since being cut by the Redbacks thanks to the T20 format.

He has played for Northern Districts in the HRV Cup in New Zealand and Khulna Royal Bengals in the Bangladesh Premier League in recent months, and has also previously featured for the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League.

Harris said he would arrive in Ballarat on Friday for the school clinics, but was unsure whether he would return to Melbourne to play for Fitzroy-Doncaster on Saturday or stay until the two practice matches on Sunday.

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