No one to replace: Harper faces Renegades squeeze

The Melbourne Renegades are dealing with the unusual problem of having too many players available, leaving them searching for a way for leading run-scorer Sam Harper to keep his spot on their list.

Harper has been a revelation in the Renegades’ top order this season, topping the club’s run-scorers'  list with 279 runs at a strike rate of 134.13 despite starting the summer without a Big Bash League contract.

Sam Harper of the Renegades runs out Chris Green of the Thunder last week.Credit:AAP

Under BBL rules, clubs may fill slots left empty by injuries, call-ups, or involvement in other T20 leagues.

Victorian wicketkeeper Harper, 22, was initially called into the Renegades squad as a replacement player for Aaron Finch, who was in Australia’s Test squad at the time.

At least one of Finch and fellow opener Marcus Harris have been unavailable for the majority of Renegades’ games to this point of the season.

The sole game they played together was the January 19 derby against the Melbourne Stars, however there was a vacancy for Harper on the Renegades’ list as Jon Holland and Chris Tremain were away playing for the Cricket Australia XI against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

The Renegades have also had other players unavailable at various stages of the season through injury and under-age national duties.

However with the Test series against Sri Lanka over, Harris is again available, and the Renegades don’t have any players clearly unavailable through international duties or injury.

Veteran Cameron White (hamstring) missed last week’s win over Sydney Thunder but has been training and has previously said he expected to be available to face the Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena on Thursday night.

Harper started the season as a specialist batsman but soon took over the gloves from the struggling Tim Ludeman.

The Renegades have already secured a finals berth and enter the game against the Hurricanes in third position, with their exact finishing position to be shaped by the final weekend of BBL home-and-away matches.

Every member of Australia's Test XI that beat Sri Lanka in Canberra who has a BBL contract – with the exception of quick Jhye Richardson – has been cleared to play the tail end of the BBL season, which concludes with the semi-finals on February 14 and 15, and the final on February 17.

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