Little league a teaser to the Big Bash prize
ACT Comets coach Mark Higgs. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Mark Higgs wants to rediscover his competitive edge to launch himself on to the Big Bash League radar and complete a spectacular comeback with a contract in the Twenty20 competition.
Despite his ''happy retirement'' only lasting a month, Higgs insists he has the hunger and desire to compete against the best cricketers in Australia.
Higgs will end his brief absence from the game to join the ACT Comets for their Futures League clash against the Victoria second XI in Melbourne next week.
It's hoped returning to the second-tier competition will help him land a deal with one of the Big Bash franchises in the most exciting domestic cricket format.
Higgs has played a trial game with Adelaide and has links to the Melbourne Renegades through coach Simon Helmot and the Sydney Sixers through his friendship with Brad Haddin.
Higgs retired from all forms of the game at the end of last season to focus on coaching the Comets and family time. But interest from Big Bash teams lured the veteran Queanbeyan all-rounder back on to the field and he's ready to impress the selectors as he aims for a contract.
''I think there's a chance to play Big Bash, there's been some interest and that's why I'm playing a Futures League match,'' Higgs said.
''It's an exciting time of the year to play cricket. I wouldn't be taking this on if I didn't think I could do it.
''It will take time to get my competitive edge back and I've noticed that, but it won't take long.
''I do still have the hunger, I was happily retired but [the Big Bash] sparks a fire in the belly and I really do want it.''
Higgs forgot how long his bowling run-up was when he first returned to the field for Queanbeyan two weeks ago. But it didn't take long to find his groove and his spin bowling and power hitting make him an attractive option for Big Bash coaches.
The competition runs from the start of December to mid-January and if teams progress to the Champions League, players can be rewarded with lucrative pay days.
Higgs isn't the only Comet vying for a Big Bash deal. Jono Dean was in an extended squad for the Perth Scorchers earlier this year and Ben Oakley was on the verge of joining Adelaide before a side strain ruled him out of last year's campaign.
Oakley will join Higgs and the Comets in Melbourne. But the speedster's availability for the rest of the Futures League campaign is unknown because of work commitments.
The left-armer can bowl at speeds up to 140km/h and, after being plagued by an elbow injury and side muscle problems last season, he is back to peak fitness.
''Four-day cricket is pretty hard on the body and I'm not as young as I once was,'' Oakley said.
''When I tore the muscle in my side [last year] that was the end of anything with Adelaide.
''I've just got to go out and do what I do and anything [with the Big Bash] is a bonus from there.''
Mark Higgs, Ben Oakley, Jono Dean, Matt Gawthrop, Aaron Ayre, Blake Dean, Dean Solway, Michael Spaseski, Beau McClintock, Josh Connolly, Nick Winter, Andrew Maher.