Former Australia Test opener Joe Burns has decided to play for Italy in order to help them qualify for the 2026 T20 World Cup as a tribute to his late brother. Burns, who represented Australia in 23 Tests from 2014-20, was not included in Queensland state's contracts list for the upcoming domestic season in Australia, as he has been grieving his brother's passing in February.

In a social media post, Burns shared his feelings of grief along with a photo of himself wearing an Italy shirt with the number 85, which was his brother's at their local cricket club in Queensland. He expressed that although a part of his soul feels forever incomplete, the shirt symbolizes his brother's spirit and provides him with strength.

Burns also reflected on the courage and determination displayed by his grandparents when they left Italy to start a new life in Australia. He emphasized that their resilience has been a source of comfort and inspiration for him throughout life's challenges.

Expressing his pride in representing Italy in their journey towards the 2026 World Cup, Burns acknowledged Italy's previous unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the United States and the Caribbean. Despite this setback, Italy will compete in a sub-regional tournament in Rome next month as part of the qualification process for the 2026 T20 World Cup in India and Sri Lanka.

Burns expressed his sense of belonging and familiarity with the fields of Rome, likening it to his experiences at renowned cricket grounds in Australia and his childhood home.