Cricket: ‘Big Bash League’ Preview 2017/18

ADELAIDE STRIKERS

Preview: The Strikers are coming off a 3-5 season last year, and will look to put up a better showing in the seventh edition of the exciting BBL. They let Captain Brad Hodge go, and opted to go for more youth and have now made Travis Head the skipper. Ben Dunk has defected to the Melbourne Stars, while keeper Tim Ludeman has gone to the Renegades in what is a huge blow for the Strikers. We have seen glimpses of brilliance from Jake Lehmann and Jono Wells whilst Head is an excitement machine.

South African Colin Ingram is one of their overseas signings, and boy oh boy, can he hit a long ball, so he will add plenty to an already talented lineup. Ben Laughlin and Peter Siddle will team up as the teams bowling veterans, which could result in plenty of wickets for the Strikers. They weren’t happy with last seasons showing, and this proud organisation is expecting big things from BBL07. Expect them to be close to the mark again, however they just lack a bit of star power, which might see other teams overtake them.

Predicted Finish: 5th

Squad: Travis Head (Captain), Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Jono Dean, Colin Ingram (South Africa), Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Rashid Khan (Afg), Michael Neser, Liam O’Connor, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Jake Weatherald, Jonathan Wells.

 

BRISBANE HEAT

Preview: The Heat were the surprise packet of last season, finishing second on the table, and reaching the Semi Finals before bowing out in a super over. They are stacked with big hitters and an underrated bowling lineup which will see them be dangerous once again. Brendon McCullum is back again to Captain the side, and between him and Chris Lynn, the Gabba isn’t big enough to keep the ball inside the stadium. They are two of the biggest hitters in world cricket and could cause some serious problems again this season. Joe Burns is dangerous on his day, and will bat with McCullum at the top, while Ben Cutting is one of Australias finest all rounders, and can hit a quick-fire 40 on his day.

Alex Ross is a crisp hitter and just adds plenty of depth to an already elite lineup. The only query is on the human highlight reel, Chris Lynn, who has had his share of shoulder issues of late, can he get the power back and continue to hit the long ball? If he is fit, and at his best, this mob could definitely win the whole thing. This is a dangerous lineup, don’t take them lightly, expect another big season from them.

Predicted Finish: 4th

Squad: Brendon McCullum  (Captain)Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Brendan Doggett, Jason Floros, Cameron Gannon, Sam Heazlett, Shadab Khan (International), Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Chris Lynn, Jimmy Peirson, Matt Renshaw, Alex Ross, Mitchell Swepson, Mark Steketee, Cameron Valente.

 

HOBART HURRICANES

Preview: The Hurricanes finished second last in BBL 06, way short of expectations and would have been disappointed in that result with the squad they had. They have since lost Stuart Broad, who is involved in the Ashes, and Kumar Sangakarra has not recommitted to the Big Bash. Shaun Tait is a big loss to the bowling stocks, retiring at the end of last season, while Jono Wells is a blow to their middle order, he is off to the Strikers and as a result, the Hurricanes squad looks very lean.

Matthew Wade has been traded to the Hurricanes in exchange for Beau Webster, who will add great depth to the Renegades side. Wade will bring much needed experience with bat and gloves, however, his recent form suggests he may be down on confidence, and wont be able to carry Hobart this season. George Bailey and Dan Christian are veterans and a competitors so expect them to work hard to get them over the line, but the lack depth might be their downfall. Young squad, so they will be full of enthusiasm and talent, but can’t see them matching it with the big teams this year. Not expecting great things from Hobart in BBL07.

Predicted finish: 8th

Squad: George Bailey (Captain), Jofra Archer (International), James Bazley, Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Hamish Kingston, Ben McDermott, Simon Milenko, Tymal Mills (International), David Moody, Tim Paine, Jake Reed, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Clive Rose, D’Arcy Short, Matthew Wade.

 

MELBOURNE RENEGADES

Preview: There is plenty to like about this Melbourne Renegades team, the squad looks well balanced, and the addition of Brad Hodge, despite his age, will add some serious experience to the team. The addition of Jon Holland is a good one too, Holland is averaging 32.31 with the ball in first class cricket, and is one of the country’s best spin bowlers, he has taken 171 wickets in 53 first class games, so expect him to be a huge factor for the Renegades this season. Peter Nevill has left to go back to Sydney, and Peter Siddle went to the Strikers, while Matthew Wade has headed back to Hobart after a late trade that saw the Renegades acquire exciting youngster Beau Webster.

Kane Richardson adds to the bowling stocks, and will frustrate batsman all tournament, and Tim Ludeman will now assume the wicketkeeping duties, and likely bat in the top four, we have seen him hit a few long balls in recent seasons, so it was smart recruiting by the red half of Melbourne. Brad Hogg is back at nearly 50, to excite crowds, and is still producing the goods, he will again don the Red and Black and should be a crucial part of the lineup. Don’t forget about Aaron Finch and Cameron White, two of world crickets cleanest hitters, who on their day can be the most destructive players in the league. Dwayne Bravo is back and will bring plenty of excitement as well.

They have added fiery All Rounder, Kieron Pollard to the squad as a replacement for the injured James Pattinson. A lot to like about this side, they could challenge for the title this season, will be right up there.

Predicted Finish: 1st (Champions) 

Squad: Aaron Finch (Captain), Dwayne Bravo (WI), Tom Cooper, Marcus Harris, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Jon Holland, Tim Ludeman, Joe Mennie, Mohammad Nabi (AFG), James Pattinson, Kieron Pollard (WI – international replacement), Kane Richardson, Matt Short, Will Sutherland (rookie), Chris Tremain, Guy Walker, Beau Webster, Cameron White, Jack Wildermuth.

Brad Hodge will return to the Renegades aged 42.

MELBOURNE STARS

Preview: The Melbourne Stars look the team to beat again this season, however, they have had that tag on them for a number of years and have always fallen over throughout the season. They look more well equipped this season though with the addition of last years leading run scorer, Ben Dunk to the side. David Hussey has hung up the boots, and the side will now be led by all rounder John Hastings, who will be hoping to go one better than the Semi Final loss last season. Glenn Maxwell is back to excite fans with his unorthodox stroke play. Meanwhile the enigmatic Kevin Pietersen is back in town to continue his good form in BBLs past.

They have a number of exciting all rounders in Luke Wright, Marcus Stoinis and James Faulkner as well as skipper Hastings all of whom will bring plenty of success with bat and ball. The bowling side of things looks strong again with Scott Boland, Ben Hilfenhaus and Dan Worrall the out and out fast bowlers while Adam Zampa and Michael Beer will assume the spin bowling duties, with Glenn Maxwell to bowl plenty of overs too. The issues will come when the ODI’s come around, they will lose Maxwell, Faulkner, Stoinis and likely Pete Handscomb and Adam Zampa. They look to have enough quality depth to cover those losses, and look ready to take the next step and win that elusive title. Expecting big things from the Stars this season.

 

Predicted finish: 2nd

Squad: John Hastings (Captain), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, Jackson Coleman, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen (Eng), Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Dan Worrall, Luke Wright (Eng), Adam Zampa.

 

PERTH SCORCHERS

Preview: The most successful franchise in the seven year BBL will hit the park with the same championship winning lineup as 12 months ago. Perth haven’t brought any new players into the squad as of yet with David Willey staying on after being out of contract. The Scorchers continue to be the most consistent side in the competition and have fiery quick Mitchell Johnson back in the fold again to terrify batsman. Adam Voges will lead the side once again, while Michael Klinger has been rolled out to open the batting for another season. They rarely lose players to international duty anymore, but Shaun Marsh and Cameron Bancroft will be the ones they miss while Australia are playing Tests.

Perth are ever consistent and we expect them to be in the fray again this season, and can probably win it from anywhere. They have made the WACA their fortress, and will even play games, later in the tournament, at the new Perth Stadium. Great side who continues to win and always seem to win when it counts. Don’t discount them, they can do it again, but may not be as dominant as previous seasons.

Predicted Finish: 3rd

Squad: Adam Voges (Captain), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Klinger, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman, David Willey (England)

 

SYDNEY SIXERS

Preview: Last years runners up have lost a number of key players and may be about to fall down the ladder after years of sustained success. Brad Haddin, Ryan Carters and Michael Lumb have all pulled the pin, while Joe Mennie has defected to the Renegades. They are re-signed English imports Jason Roy and Sam Billings. Peter Nevill will come in and take the gloves, and they are pretty well covered in the bowling department. Moises Henriques will lead them again, and a lot of the runs will need to come from him, with a number of All rounders and then bowlers around him.

Sean Abbott was the leading wicket taker in last years tournament and will be a handful again, with his pace and bounce he will terrify batsman in this years edition. They will get Nathan Lyon at some point throughout the tournament, as the Aussie off spinner doesn’t play One Day cricket, so that will help their cause, but they are unlikely to get any use out of Mitchell Starc. They are always competitive but it is hard to see them troubling the top four again this season, might be a tough season for the Sixers.

Predicted finish: 6th

Squad: Moises Henriques (Captain), Sean Abbott, Sam Billings (England), Jackson Bird, Johan Botha, Ben Dwarshuis, Mickey Edwards, Jack Edwards (rookie), Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Steve O’Keefe, Jason Roy (England), Jordan Silk, Mitchell Starc, Henry Thornton.

 

 

SYDNEY THUNDER

Preview: Sydney Thunder have fallen away a bit since their unlikely win two editions ago, but with some good additions they might well be ready build for the future. They have signed Englishman Jos Buttler to add some big hitting and wicketkeeping expertise, they will however lose him when England start their One Day cricket campaign. How much we will see from Usman Khawaja remains to be seen, but likely after the test series he will rejoin the Thunder. Shane Watson will captain the side this season, and is still hitting the ball well, he recently hit 114 from 52 balls in grade cricket, so he comes into the tournament with a bit of form. He also adds plenty with the ball too and will no doubt contribute with wickets, as well as runs, he holds the keys to the Thunders fortunes this season it seems.

Aiden Blizzard, Ben Rohrer and Kurtis Patterson are big hitters who can be destructive while they have signed Kiwi Mitch McClenaghan to bowl quick and take plenty of wickets in the tournament. A bit like the Sixers they have talent, but they could be outshone by teams stacked with talent like the Stars, Renegades, Scorchers and Heat. They will be competitive, but it is hard to see them causing many headaches this season. Watson looks their best and most consistent player, Callum Ferguson adds experience and Grinder Sandhu has shown plenty in previous additions, but losing Andre Russell was a big loss, cant see them being in the conversation this season.

Predicted Finish: 7th

Squad: Shane Watson (Captain),Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Jos Buttler (ENG), Pat Cummins, Andrew Fekete, Callum Ferguson, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher (rookie), Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Mitchell McClenaghan (NZ), Clint McKay, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu, 

Shane Watson will need to fire this season if the Thunder are going to be competitive.

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