Aussie‘s stunning knock for adopted country

Joe Burns made a century for Italy
Joe Burns made a century for Italy.

Former Australian Test opener Joe Burns made an immediate impact after shifting his international allegiance to Italy, smashing a 50-ball hundred to put his adopted country closer to qualifying for the 2026 T20 World Cup.

Burns, who chalked up four centuries in 23 Test matches for Australia, wasn’t offered a Queensland contract for the 2024-25 season and his Big Bash deal with the Melbourne Stars also ended.

Following the death of his brother Dominic in February, Burns decided to represent Italy, which he’s able to do via his mother’s heritage.

His Italian jersey is number 85 as tribute to Dominic and in an emotional Instagram post, the 34-year-old outlined his desire to honour his family’s Italian legacy.

Taking to the field for the fifth time for Italy against Romania in the final subregional qualifier in Rome, and batting on a synthetics pitch, Burns swatted 12 fours and four sixes in making an unbeaten 108 off 55 balls in a 160-run win for Italy.

Burns also made 58 in his first innings for Italy, with the Italians going undefeated through five qualifiers and they will now head to Germany for the next round of matches.

Burns revealed the reasons for his decision to play for Italy in an Instagram post after he was left without a deal in Australia.

“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,” Burns wrote.

“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 subdistricts.

“The days, weeks and months since my brother’s death have been the toughest I could ever imagine. I’m not too proud to admit that it’s been a daily battle that I often lose.”