Ultimate guide to 2020-21 Big Bash League
Ultimate guide to 2020-21 Big Bash League

Ready to explode: Ultimate BBL10 season guide

Get ready for fireworks.

BBL10 kicks off on Thursday when the Hobart Hurricanes host BBL09 champs Sydney Sixers.

Who are the Sixers' biggest threat this summer? Sam Landsberger gives his predictions and names the players to watch. Let's get bashing!

 

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ADELAIDE STRIKERS

CAPTAIN: Travis Head

COACH: Jason Gillespie

LAST SEASON: 4th (8-6)

WORLD IMPORTS: Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Phil Salt, (Wales), Danny Briggs (England)

AUSSIES: Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, Travis Head, Spencer Johnson, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen, Liam O'Connor, Matthew Renshaw, Liam Scott, Matthew Short, Peter Siddle, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall

CROWD PULLER: Rashid Khan. Harder than a bank vault to pick, the world's No. 1 T20 bowler has developed a cult following in Adelaide akin to what Eddie Betts used to enjoy in winter. Rashid's 3-41 (43 balls) against Chris Lynn highlights how he totally bamboozles the biggest of blasters. A box office bowler in what is often a batsman's game.

GENERATION NEXT: Spencer Johnson, 24. Get the popcorn ready if this left-arm smoky gets a game. Mitchell Johnson's namesake can heat the speed gun up to 145km/h and young Spencer bowls in the mould of Australia's old Ashes enforcer.

SNAPSHOT: Alex Carey - the prince charming of Australian cricket - will captain the Strikers while Travis Head is on Test duty. Big, strong batsman Matthew Renshaw was offered a fat contract he couldn't refuse - and Brisbane Heat couldn't match - to make the move, and the former Test opener suddenly prefers facing the white ball over the red. A Victorian flavour with swing bowler Dan Worrall joining banana man Peter Siddle as Cameron White serves as Gillespie's assistant. If talented youngsters such as Matthew Short and Jake Weatherald can grab a few games by the throat, the Strikers loom as the wildcard. Imports Salt and Briggs have both played under Gillespie at Sussex.

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 7th

 

Strikers Travis Head, Rashid Khan, Alex Carey and Phil Salt. Picture: Brad Fleet
Strikers Travis Head, Rashid Khan, Alex Carey and Phil Salt. Picture: Brad Fleet

 

BRISBANE HEAT

CAPTAIN: Chris Lynn

COACH: Darren Lehmann

LAST SEASON: 7th (6-8)

WORLD IMPORTS: Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan), Lewis Gregory, Dan Lawrence (England)

AUSSIES: Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, James Bazley, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Sam Heazlett, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Laughlin, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Jimmy Peirson, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Matt Willans, Jack Wildermuth.

CROWD PULLER: Chris Lynn. Twin T20 World Cups are on the horizon and yet Australia wants nothing to do with this six-machine. Last week that was Toombul's gain as Lynn thumped 154 (55) and, while Mumbai Indians paid $408,000 for Lynn to carry the drinks, the Bash Brother is once again the face of the Heat.

GENERATION NEXT: Sam Heazlett, 25. Surely the time has come for Heazlett to transform from runs saver in the outfield to runs blazer in the middle. The left-hander drips with energy running along the boundary and has the ability to become a merciless batter after warming up with a mountain of Premier Cricket runs for Redlands.

SNAPSHOT: One finals appearance in the past seven seasons is a big fail and not even AB de Villiers' wizardry could save the Heat last summer. For too long it has been Lynn or bust as the Heat flame out and are left ruing an imbalance between bat and ball. But "Aussie" Morne Morkel - the South African signed as a domestic player due to residing in Sydney - stiffens the attack. If the Heat can hold on until mid-January they should welcome Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Burns and Mitchell Swepson after the Test summer. Labuschagne looks an eventual three-format weapon for Australia and could use a Big Bash cameo to audition for an expedited ticket to next year's T20 World Cup in India. Wonder if Lynn will borrow from Aaron Finch's playbook and open the bowling with middle-order batsman Tom Cooper.

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 8th

 

Sam Heazlett is ready to explode.
Sam Heazlett is ready to explode.

HOBART HURRICANES

CAPTAIN: Matthew Wade

COACH: Adam Griffith

LAST SEASON: 5th (7-7)

WORLD IMPORTS: Dawid Malan, Will Jacks (England), Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal), Keemo Paul (West Indies), Colin Ingram (South Africa)

AUSSIES: Scott Boland, Johan Botha, Tim David, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, James Faulkner, Peter Handscomb, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, David Moody, Mitchell Owen, Tim Paine, Wil Parker, D'Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, Charlie Wakim, Nick Winter, Mac Wright. .

CROWD PULLER: D'Arcy Short. Aaron Finch and David Warner want to stick around for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 World Cups - but if something goes wrong this man should be next in line. The specialist opener has added smarts to strength with his BBL average growing to 46.4 … at a monstrous strike-rate of 143.3. The query is against spin although Short is on his way to genuine all-rounder status after using the COVID-19 break to sharpen his left-arm wrist spin.

GENERATION NEXT: Riley Meredith, 24. Speed demon knocked over Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis in a 50-over warm-up game in Southampton this year and already has 27 BBL wickets. The flat-out pace machine only needs to shed the odd erratic delivery - he once conceded 17 runs off one ball - to become a force capable of unleashing his 150km/h thunderbolts in international cricket. Will be desperate to respond after disappointing Sheffield Shield figures of 2-265 so far this summer.

SNAPSHOT: Chance to burst out of the blocks with four home games in the Tassie hub although the Canes are sweating on the health of COVID-19 patient Sandeep Lamichhane, who hopes to play after Christmas. Peter Handscomb was once being groomed as Melbourne Stars next captain, but finds himself as Hobart's new anchorman, batting below explosive hitters Short, Malan, McDermott and, after his Test summer, Wade. Malan has been nicknamed the "Milky Way Boss" by his England mates - eclipsing self-proclaimed "Universe Boss" Chris Gayle - after becoming the highest-ranked T20 batsman ever. Teenager Wil Parker - the nephew of Port Adelaide recruiter Geoff Parker - was on track to be a top-30 pick in this year's AFL draft as a running defender before giving footy the boot, and a leg-spinner from Victoria will always command attention.

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 5th

 

Matthew Wade hits out. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Matthew Wade hits out. Picture: Zak Simmonds

 

MELBOURNE RENEGADES

CAPTAIN: Aaron Finch

COACH: Michael Klinger

LAST SEASON: Last (3-11)

WORLD IMPORTS: Benny Howell (England), Imran Tahir, Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ahmed (Afghanistan), Imad Wasim (Pakistan)

AUSSIES: Cameron Boyce, Brody Couch, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Peter Hatzoglou, Jon Holland, Joshua Lalor, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitchell Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Beau Webster.

CROWD PULLER: Aaron Finch. Australia's white-ball skipper has been the heartbeat of the Renegades since day dot and, after already making a mess of India's bowlers, will be available for all 14 BBL games, along with death bowler Kane Richardson. Finch owns the franchise's only two centuries and his 2252 runs in red towers over everyone else by more than 1000.

GENERATION NEXT: Will Sutherland, 21. All-rounder Dan Christian's departure has left a hole at No. 6 that this smart cricketer can fill. Sutherland - who will miss the first two BBL games on Australia A duty - hits a long ball and has taken the wickets of D'Arcy Short, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head and Callum Ferguson in Victoria's first two Shield games.

SNAPSHOT: Englishmen Harry Gurney and Richard Gleeson were as expensive as Robodebt last summer and by the time wily all-rounder Mohammad Nabi arrived the Gades were 0-8. This year they've secured Rossouw to bat at No. 4 for the whole summer while energetic 41-year-old Tahir should play most of his games at Marvel Stadium in late January, where he could tweak havoc. Coach Michael Klinger targeted Josh Lalor as a left-arm seamer to partner Richardson but there will be no room for Test candidate Marcus Harris with Finch, Shaun Marsh and ramp specialist Sam Harper filling the top order. The Gades rolled through 21 players in last season's turbulence, but closed with three wins in five games and have further stabilised with Mick Lewis and Simon Helmot signing as assistants. Intimidating bowler James Pattinson is their only loss to the Test squad while 15-year-old spinner Noor Ahmed could become the youngest player in BBL history.

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 4th

 

Will Sutherland could be the Renegades’ next big thing.
Will Sutherland could be the Renegades’ next big thing.

 

 

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MELBOURNE STARS

CAPTAIN: Glenn Maxwell

COACH: David Hussey

LAST SEASON: Runner-up (11-6)

WORLD IMPORTS: Nicholas Pooran, Andre Fletcher (West Indies), Zahir Khan (Afghanistan), Dilbar Hussain (Pakistan)

AUSSIES: Hilton Cartwright, Jackson Coleman, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clinton Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Nic Maddison, Glenn Maxwell, Lance Morris, Tom O'Connell, Will Pucovski, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa

CROWD PULLER: Nicholas Pooran. This Calypso rock star will jet in with a low profile in Australia, but expect that to change quickly during his six-game stint. The boom-or-bust batsman pulverises leg-spinners in Chris Gayle fashion and strikes at 219 in the death overs, second to only de Villiers. Pooran spent seven months learning how to walk again after a car crash in 2015, but walked all over attacks in the IPL recently, smashing 25 sixes as Glenn Maxwell's Kings XI teammate.

GENERATION NEXT: Will Pucovski, 22. The batting prodigy is proving harder to get out than Donald Trump, but remains an unknown in T20s. That's because Pucovski is a traditionalist and has never previously had any interest in inking a Big Bash contract. Pucovski won't be available until after his Test squad commitments but it will be worth the wait to see how this generational talent handles the BBL's bright lights.

SNAPSHOT: At risk of being renamed the Melbourne Bridesmaids after eight finals series in nine seasons for no trophies. World Cup winner Jonny Bairstow's recall to England's Test squad robs the Stars of a drawcard, but punchy opener and 11th-hour replacement Andre Fletcher wears "Spiceman" on the back of his Caribbean T20 shirt and they still have more firepower than North Korea. Powerful opener Marcus Stoinis's side strain shouldn't stop him from batting while a Pooran-Maxwell combination at the death would make Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks look dim. Maxwell is in career-best nick with his baseball-style open stance and sweet timing on display against India. Hilton Cartwright is the league's best fielder and big Billy Stanlake will enjoy bowling short with the MCG's deep square boundaries after leaving Adelaide. Pakistan revelation Haris Rauf's absence burns a hole in the attack, but rejuvenated compatriot Dilbar Hussain recently dismissed Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson and Alex Hales in the Pakistan Super League as he wheeled out some delightful slower balls. It'll be spin to win again when Zahir Khan and Adam Zampa rip through the bulk of the middle overs.

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 2nd

 

Can Glenn Maxwell and the Stars finally break through?
Can Glenn Maxwell and the Stars finally break through?

 

PERTH SCORCHERS

CAPTAIN: Mitch Marsh

COACH: Adam Voges

LAST SEASON: 6th (6-8)

WORLD IMPORTS: Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Joe Clarke (England), Colin Munro (New Zealand)

AUSSIES: Ashton Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Joshua Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Mitch Marsh, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman.

CROWD PULLER: Jhye Richardson, 24. At 178cm this clean-cut kid looks nothing like your old-school hairy chested menacing fast bowler. But 18 months ago - before that untimely shoulder dislocation - Richardson was Australia's answer to Virat Kohli as a World Cup beckoned. Last BBL Richardson still couldn't even throw, but after two operations the shining light is finally feeling ripe again.

GENERATION NEXT: Josh Inglis, 25. Life after Tim Paine is looking rosy on the back of this English-born gloveman's pair of blazing Sheffield Shield centuries this season. The Australian citizen left Yorkshire as a 14-year-old and has some of the country's best judges clapping their hands red with excitement.

SNAPSHOT: The Scorchers attack of yesteryear could've defended Victoria's Hotel Quarantine bungle, but since leaving their WACA Ground fortress they have lost 19 out of 29 matches along with their mojo. English openers Roy and Livingstone will miss the first three games before joining forces with Inglis in a potent top order. Who will Voges relegate to No. 3? A make or break campaign for middle-order man Ashton Turner, who is fading fast from Australia's T20 World Cup plans. Formidable on paper, but plenty have histories of being fragile physically. Will Marsh (ankle) be ready to bowl and can Behrendorff (back) and Richardson (shoulder) stay on the park?

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 3rd

 

Josh Inglis in action with the bat.
Josh Inglis in action with the bat.

 

 

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SYDNEY SIXERS

CAPTAIN: Moises Henriques

COACH: Greg Shipperd

LAST SEASON: Champions (11-4)

WORLD IMPORTS: James Vince (England), Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder (West Indies)

AUSSIES: Sean Abbott, Justin Avendano, Jackson Bird, Dan Christian, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon, Ben Manenti, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Stephen O'Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Tom Rogers, Gurinder Sandhu, Jordan Silk, Mitchell Starc.

CROWD PULLER: Carlos Brathwaite. "Carlos Brathwaite - Remember the name!" will never get old, Ian Bishop's stunning commentary as Brathwaite wound up and slammed four consecutive sixes into the Eden Gardens stands off Ben Stokes to steal the T20 World Cup in 2016. It'll be a Calypso Christmas when West Indies Test captain Jason Holder surfs in for three games this month.

GENERATION NEXT: Josh Philippe, 23. The Steve Smith lookalike opened the batting for Virat Kohli's IPL franchise at the expense of Finch (dropped) in October and spent time in the middle with Kohli and de Villiers. Man of the match in last season's BBL Grand Final, the West Australian's bold call to walk out on Perth Scorchers two years ago matches his bold mindset as a 360-degree batsman.

SNAPSHOT: Mitchell Starc watched Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon spear the Sixers to last summer's title and decided he wanted a slice of the action. Even grumpy broadcaster Channel 7 might crack a smile at Starc's homecoming after a six-year absence, which should occur on the cusp of finals when he slips into the Sixers attack alongside Test mates Lyon and Sean Abbott. Success stalks 37-year-old Dan Christian, who is chasing his ninth T20 championship at his 18th franchise. Under steady skipper Moises Henriques the Sixers have won 23 of their past 34 games, a habit rivals have struggled to shake.

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 1st

 

Moises Henriques blasts the Siers to the BBL09 title. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Moises Henriques blasts the Siers to the BBL09 title. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

SYDNEY THUNDER

CAPTAIN: Callum Ferguson

COACH: Shane Bond (New Zealand)

LAST SEASON: 3rd (8-8)

WORLD IMPORTS: Sam Billings, Alex Hales (England), Adam Milne (New Zealand)

AUSSIES: Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Callum Ferguson, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Baxter Holt, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Arjun, Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain.

CROWD PULLER: Sam Billings. Slogged a six off Mitchell Starc into the Old Trafford car park in September on his way to a maiden international century. Always on the cusp of England's white-ball teams, Billings will fly in from South Africa desperate to prove he can play as a specialist T20 finisher for his country after a shoulder injury cost him a shot at last year's ODI triumph.

GENERATION NEXT: Oliver Davies, 20. Are there shades of Glenn Maxwell in this whiz kid? The Next Show, perhaps? Last week Davies belted 116 not out (56) for Manly in Premier Cricket and he looks a gun in the field. Yet to represent NSW but likely to earn a Thunder cap. Apologies to teenage spinner Tanveer Sangha, who is another in line to shine.

SNAPSHOT: Perhaps the BBL's most well-rounded squad, Kiwi coach Shane Bond has modelled retaining the tight-knit core of players on IPL juggernaut Mumbai Indians, where he serves as bowling coach. Cool-headed captain Callum Ferguson and classy opener Usman Khawaja are blue-chip anchors who know how to ton up while Brendan Doggett is bowling heat again. Ben Cutting gives the death overs a bit more six appeal after he was delisted by Brisbane although Daniel Sams - last summer's golden cap with 30 BBL wickets - went for 0-114 from 12 overs in the IPL. Won't lose any Aussies to Test duty and Bond wants to give Billings time to settle in after he finishes hotel quarantine in late December.

SAM LANDSBERGER'S PREDICTION: 6th

 

Callum Ferguson is reliable at the top of the order.
Callum Ferguson is reliable at the top of the order.

 

THE FORMAT

* 56 group games across 14 rounds from December 10 to Australia Day (January 26)

* Top five progress to the playoffs, and the top two earn the double chance

* Grand final held on February 6

TAB ODDS

Stars $4.50

Strikers $6

Scorchers $6

Sixers $7

Hurricanes $7.50

Heat $10

Renegades $10

Thunder $11

BBL10 SALARY CAP

* $1,860,000 (excluding superannuation)

* 19 contracts per club (including three overseas signings, which can be replaced)

THE HONOUR ROLL

BBL01 Sydney Sixers

BBL02 Brisbane Heat

BBL03 Perth Scorchers

BBL04 Perth Scorchers

BBL05 Sydney Thunder

BBL06 Perth Scorchers

BBL07 Adelaide Strikers

BBL08 Melbourne Renegades

BBL09 Sydney Sixers

 

DECEMBER BBL FIXTURES

Thursday 10

Hurricanes v Sixers, Blundstone Arena, 7.15pm

Friday 11

Stars v Heat, Manuka Oval, 7.15pm

Saturday 12

Stars v Thunder, Manuka Oval, 4.05pm

Renegades v Scorchers, Blundstone Arena, 7.15pm

Sunday 13

Strikers v Hurricanes, Blundstone Arena, 2.15pm

Sixers v Renegades, Blundstone Arena, 7.15pm

Monday 14

Thunder v Heat, Manuka Oval, 7.15pm

Tuesday 15

Hurricanes v Strikers, Uni of Tas. Stadium, 7.15pm

Wednesday 16

Scorchers v Stars, Uni of Tas. Stadium, 7.15pm

Saturday 19

Hurricanes v Renegades, Blundstone Arena, 11.10am

Sunday 20

Sixers v Strikers, Blundstone Arena, 11.10am

Tuesday 22

Thunder v Scorchers, Manuka Oval, 7.15pm

Wednesday 23

Heat v Strikers, Gabba, 7.15pm

Saturday 26

Thunder v Renegades, Manuka Oval, 6.10pm

Sixers v Stars, Metricon Stadium, 9.20pm

Sunday 27

Heat v Hurricanes, Gabba, 7.15pm

Monday 28

Scorchers v Strikers, Adelaide Oval, 7.15pm

Tuesday 29

Renegades v Sixers, Metricon Stadium 6.10pm

Thunder v Stars, Manuka Oval, 7.15pm

Wednesday 30

Hurricanes v Heat, Gabba, 7.15pm

Thursday 31

Strikers v Scorchers, Adelaide Oval, 7.15pm

* all times AEDT

 

 

Originally published as Ready to explode: Ultimate BBL10 season guide



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