The West

Thomas is back and will play
Alfonso Thomas. Pic: Getty Images

One import's misfortune has been the saving grace for another, with out-of-form paceman Alfonso Thomas set to return to Perth Scorchers' line-up.

Coach Justin Langer said a rested Thomas would be ready for action when the Scorchers clash with Melbourne Stars next Monday.

A victory at the MCG would almost certainly secure the WA team a home Big Bash League semifinal against Sydney Sixers on February 5.

Langer said the 36-year-old South African had been plagued by back soreness, but was "100 per cent" certain to play against an intimidating Stars outfit as a replacement for the injured Yasir Arafat.

Thomas' availability is crucial to the Scorchers, who are expected to use him in the all-important final overs of the innings, a role Arafat had performed brilliantly before injuring a thumb in last Thursday night's win over Adelaide Strikers.

"We're very lucky with Yasir (and his injury) that we've got Alfonso Thomas, who I think is the leading T20 bowler in the world," Langer said.

"This break has been good for him to get his back right. I predict that he'll be very good in the next few games."

Thomas' campaign has been a far cry from last summer when he was the team's leading wicket-taker with 12 scalps. He has only one wicket this season.

"If I was going to back my life on a one-day bowler or a Twenty20 bowler, it would be Alfonso Thomas," Langer said.

"I played with him for three years at Somerset. He is brilliant at the death."

Langer revealed promising Perth quick Jason Behrendorff had also come close to being named in Australia's 14-man squad for the three-match international Twenty20 series against England.

"I know he's very close," he said. "He's bowled well. His development this year has been huge in all forms of the game."

Spinner Michael Beer and young left-armer Joel Paris will be included in the Scorchers' 13-man travelling squad.

The West Australian

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