BBL stars cleared for crucial Etihad clash

The complexion of Monday night's crucial Big Bash League clash at Etihad Stadium has changed dramatically with Australian one-day players Cameron White, Travis Head and Alex Carey cleared to play when the Melbourne Renegades take on the Adelaide Strikers.

With the BBL's regular season having entered its final week, the composition and order of the top four remains up in the air. However, despite recent losses to the Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Stars, the fourth-placed Renegades remain in control of their fate. Two wins from their final three games will ensure they qualify for the semi-finals for the first time in five years, while even one win may be enough.

White (Renegades) and Strikers pair Carey and Head have been granted permission by Cricket Australia to leave Australia's one-day camp for a return to the BBL. Carey and Head were left out of Australia's XI for Sunday's match against England at the MCG, although White is poised to back up with two matches in 24 hours. The veteran batsman is the Renegades' stand-in captain in the absence of Aaron Finch, who stays with the international side. White's return will, however, be short-lived, with his clearance only allowing him to play on Monday night, not in Wednesday night's match against Sydney Thunder in Canberra.

The Renegades XI on Monday night is set to look significantly different to the side that lost to the Stars more than a week ago. Along with White, they also welcome back Brad Hodge from injury, while West Indian Kieron Pollard has been named in their 13-man squad after replacing Mohammad Nabi, who departed because of international commitments with Afghanistan. Meanwhile, as stipulated by tournament rules, 17-year-old Mackenzie Harvey is also in the squad after being signed as a replacement player for Finch. Spinner Jon Holland and all-rounder Beau Webster have been dropped.

The Strikers (6-2) enter the match in second position, but with a game in hand compared to top-placed Perth, their opponents on Thursday night in Perth. Hobart (5-4) are third, and don't play until they meet the last-placed Stars on Saturday at the MCG. The Stars' seven-wicket loss to the Thunder on the weekend pushed the Thunder to fifth, and they remain in the hunt for a top-four spot, although they would need to make up a chunk of net run rate.

Brisbane Heat (4-5) are also still a chance to qualify, but have an even bigger net run rate chasm to bridge on the Renegades. The two sides meet on Saturday night in Brisbane in what is the last match before the finals. The Stars face the seventh-placed Sydney Sixers at the SCG on Tuesday night. A Sixers win would officially consign the Stars to their first wooden spoon.

This story BBL stars cleared for crucial Etihad clash first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.