Former Australian Test batter Joe Burns is attempting to help Italy qualify for the 2026 T20 World Cup as a tribute to his late brother.

After being dropped from Queensland’s contract list for the 2024-25 season, the 34-year-old is switching his focus to a subject close to his heart.

Burns, who played 23 Tests for Australia between 2014 and 2020, is still grieving the death of his brother in February.

In a touching social media post, Burns posted a photo of an Italian jersey with the number 85 his brother Dominic wore while playing club cricket in Brisbane.

“This isn’t just a number and this isn’t just a jersey,” Burns wrote on Instagram.

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“This is for the people who I know will be looking down proudly from above.

“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.”

Burns has Italian heritage through his mother and will help the country, more known for its soccer prowess, in its push to qualify for the T20 World Cup in India and Sri Lanka.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.

“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.”

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