Steve Smith and the world's most-overqualified net bowler Pat Cummins have helped to steel Sydney Sixers for their BBL semi-final.
Smith, Cummins and injured quick Josh Hazlewood were at the SCG on Wednesday for the Sixers' final session, before their squad departs for Friday's semi against Melbourne Renegades at Marvel Stadium.
Cummins steamed in just two days after collecting the Allan Border Medal, with the Sydney Thunder superstar tuning up for Australia's limited-overs tour of India by testing out the Sixers' batsmen.
Smith, recovering from elbow surgery, isn't yet in a position to strap on the pads or roll the arm over as he builds towards an Indian Premier League return.
But the gifted batsman, whose 12-month ban has a tick over six weeks remaining, has chatted with many of the Sixers' players and coaches at length.
"He's a wonderful guy and he's been around at a couple of sessions, helping us out," Sixers paceman Sean Abbott told reporters.
"He's always there to bounce ideas off when it comes to cricket or just have a laugh with.
"It's good to have him around. He's quite a positive influence on the group."
Smith is no stranger to the franchise, having relaunched his international career by captaining the Sixers to the inaugural 2012 BBL title.
The 29-year-old has played a behind-the-scenes role in the Sixers' current campaign, mentoring Josh Philippe and other youngsters.
"He's always been great with his time, even before injuring the elbow," Abbott said.
"He loves getting around the younger guys and talking about cricket. He loves cricket and talking cricket. He'll do it as long as anybody is there to ask him questions.
"He's going very well ... he's champing at the bit to get out on the park."
The Sixers finished the regular season with a miserable 94-run loss to the Melbourne Stars at the MCG, where Glenn Maxwell's spectacular 82 was followed by a shocking Sydney collapse of 10-60.
"It wasn't ideal," Abbott said.
"But we'd been playing some really good cricket up until then and we've been pretty good at bouncing back from tough losses."
The absence of Englishman Tom Curran (international duty) will force the Sixers to make at least one change.
Abbott is ready to step up at Marvel, where he had claimed 2-16 earlier this summer to help defeat the Renegades.
"I feel like I bowled pretty well down there last time and the wicket suits a couple of the deliveries I bowl," Abbott said.
Australian Associated Press