Why Australia's discarded Test opener switched to play cricket for Italy

The opening batter was recently named in Italy's squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2026 Europe qualifiers, which will be played from June 9 to June 16 in Rome.

David Warner and Joe Burns?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

Discarded Australian Test opener Joe Burns was recently selected in Italy's national cricket team for the ICC T20 World Cup 2026 Europe qualifiers, which will be played from June 9 to June 16 in Rome. The news took everyone in the cricketing circle by surprise as Burns was a part of Australia's Test side just a few years ago, where he opened the batting along side David Warner.

Burns was also a regular in Brisbane Heat's line-up in the Big Bash League and batted in the middle order there. But Burns was dropped by his state team Queensland last season and did not get a place on their 2024-25 contract list as well.

Joe Burns reveals the reason behind his move to Italy

Shortly after his omission from Queensland's Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia in Adelaide in mid-February, Burns suffered another major setback with the death of his brother. Burns has taken to Instagram to reveal the details about his newest cricket adventure.

In the post, Burns mentioned that he will be honouring his late brother by wearing the jersey number 85 on his playing shirt, which was his brother's jersey number in club cricket.

"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," Burns wrote on his post.

"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. While a part of my soul feels like it will always be missing, I know this shirt will carry on his spirit and give me strength. It's the hours playing as kids and connection with him that taught me to love this game," he added.

"I often reflect on the bravery and commitment it must have taken my Grandparents when they left Italy to start a new life in Australia. They found a way to make it work through adversity and this has always given me solace through life's lessons. I'm so proud to represent Italy on our path to the 2026 World Cup," Burns mentioned about the bravery of his grandparents of moving to Australia.

Also read: Former Australia opener gets picked in Italy's national team

Joe Burns has played 23 Tests and 6 ODIs for Australia, and has 1588 international runs to his name. He has a decent average of 36.97 in Test cricket. He still remains eligible for state, Big Bash and national selection for Australia and is the highest profile player in the Italian squad.

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