Australia cricketer Joe Burns to represent Italy to honor his late brother

Australia v New Zealand - 2nd Test: Day 2
Australia v New Zealand - 2nd Test: Day 2

Australian batter Joe Burns has decided to play for Italy as a tribute to his late brother Dominic, who died in February this year. Burns will don jersey number 85 to honor Dominic, who played for the Northern Federals in sub-districts with the same jersey number and had the birth year of 1985 as well.

Burns is qualified to represent the Italian team through his mother's heritage. He will be part of the roster, as the team participates in the 2026 Men's T20 World Cup sub-regional qualifiers. Italy are grouped with France, Isle of Man, Luxembourg, and Turkey in the tournament slated to be played from June 9-16 in Rome.

Here's what Burns posted on Instagram:

"This isn't just a number and this isn't just a jersey. This is for the people who I know will be looking down proudly from above. In February of this year my brother sadly passed away. 85 was his number in the last team he played (and his birth year) for the mighty Northern Federals in sub-districts."
"I’m so proud to represent Italy on our path to the 2026 World Cup. The fields of Rome may be a long way from the Gabba, MCG or our front yard growing up, but I feel like I’m coming home," he added.

Last month, Burns was left out of the Queensland contract list for the 2024-25 season. It came after the veteran batter scored 446 runs in 13 innings at an average of 37.16 in the Sheffield Shield 2023-24 season.

With his three-year deal with the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League also expired, Burns was left with no professional contract for the first time since 2010-11. As a result, he decided to switch to Italy for better opportunities.


Joe Burns' international career for Australia

The 34-year-old made his international debut in a Test fixture against India in Melbourne in December 2014. The following year, Joe Burns played his maiden ODI against Ireland and scored 69 off 70, which is his best-ever knock in this format.

Burns went on to appear in 23 Tests, scoring 1442 runs at an average of 36.97, with four centuries and seven fifties. His top score of 180 came against Sri Lanka in February 2019. He played six ODIs and garnered 146 runs.

The last time Joe Burns represented Australia was in a Test match against India in December 2020.

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