Which BBL teams will cope best without their ODI stars?

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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18 Have your say

    We’re now three games into the really intriguing stage of the Big Bash League season: the part where teams are forced to cover for their Australian representatives.

    With the announcement at the end of the Sydney Test of a 14-man squad to face Pakistan in a five-game One Day International series, eight of the players named are now removed from their BBL side for the rest of the competition, effectively.

    The wording of the squad announcement included, “The squad has been selected for all five matches in the series”, and that players would be unavailable from Monday just gone.

    The BBL semi-finals are on Tuesday and Wednesday January 24 and 25, the day before the final ODI in Adelaide on Australia Day. Players could theoretically be available for the BBL final on Saturday, January 28, but that might also depend on when the squad heads to New Zealand for the return leg of the Chappell-Hadlee series. The first of the three ODIs will be played in Auckland on Tuesday January 31.

    It means that several leading BBL sides now have to finish their campaign without key players, and some teams will cope better than others.

    The affected teams and their players are:

    • Adelaide Strikers: Travis Head, Billy Stanlake
    • Brisbane Heat: Chris Lynn
    • Melbourne Stars: James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, Adam Zampa
    • Perth Scorchers: Mitch Marsh
    • Sydney Thunder: Pat Cummins

    Billy Stanlake of the Adelaide Strikers

    And with Test paceman Josh Hazlewood sitting out the first ODI in Brisbane on Friday, more resting or injury replacements may well be required.

    Already we’ve seen an effect. On Tuesday night, the Adelaide line-up looked light on in both the batting and bowling departments, and their fourth loss from six games was enough for Brad Hodge to declare that their finals chance are gone.

    The Strikers’ top order just never got going, and while Head being in the side may not have made any difference at all, the one extra top-order batsman would have changed the way Adelaide approached their innings. You could see the desperation of the incoming batsman increase with every wicket that fell.

    On the other side of the coin, the Melbourne Stars’ tail was so long that new batting hero Ben Hilfenhaus came in at No.8 and Michael Beer came in at No.10!

    Glenn Maxwell was definitely missed, as his confidence has improved with a bit of consistency as the comp as gone on. And the return of Peter Handscomb means the Stars’ batting will remain pretty strong.

    But without Faulkner and Zampa, the bowling looked light. They were probably lucky the Strikers couldn’t get going; a team at the other end of the ladder might really launch into that bowling line-up.

    On Wednesday night, the Gabba hosted the top two teams of BBL06, and both teams are still trying to work out how to fill in behind Lynn and Marsh.

    Batting first, Perth needed Michael Klinger and Shaun Marsh to get them off to a better start than we’ve seen from them this season. But for a batsman already thumbing through his Lonely Planet book on India, Shaun Marsh really isn’t hitting the ball well. Making runs aside, he just isn’t batting as comfortably as he often has at this level.

    It was interesting to see Sam Whiteman come in first drop, after he’d been batting lower in previous games. He was going okay until he was rocked by a Tymal Mills bouncer. His demise soon after brought Ian Bell to the crease with Klinger, and though they’re both capable of ‘going’, they don’t quite have the power hitting of the younger Marsh.

    Bell didn’t last long, and while Ashton Turner may become a quality top-order bat, there a reason he’s been batting at six thus far as well.

    Brisbane similarly needed a good start in the chase, and it meant that a few of their less experienced players had to go with Brendon McCullum. So when two of their young guns and McCullum were gone inside four overs, the magnitude of the Heat’s post-Lynn existence became worryingly clear.

    Going into the match, Lynn was nearly a hundred runs clear of McCullum for the tournament, and McCullum was nearly a hundred clear of the next best, Jimmy Peirson – no other Heat bat had cracked 100 runs for the season.

    Perth’s bowling is still reasonable enough to defend a lower total without Marsh, and we saw that play out, but the Heat’s bowling has been a bit light all tournament. If they can’t now find the runs to post totals – or chase targets – then the road to the semis will be rocky.

    Of course, the opposite of all this is also true. The Melbourne Renegades still lost on Monday night, but their run to the semis becomes a whole lot more promising with Aaron Finch not requiring his Australian-gold kit for the time being. Likewise, Hobart will benefit from George Bailey being left of the ODI squad.

    And the Sydney Sixers’ bowling attack is absolutely strengthened by the return of Test bowlers Nathan Lyon and Jackson Bird, even if it comes at the expense of Stephen O’Keefe being pulled from the BBL to concentrate on his red-ball preps for India.

    But the point remains; the sooner the affected teams come to grips with the national call-up of their key players, the sooner they can get on with being a competition contender. It’ll be intriguing to see who copes best.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • January 12th 2017 @ 5:25am
      Peter Z said | January 12th 2017 @ 5:25am | ! Report

      Prediction: within 5 years, ODI’s will be bumped from the Jan schedule. The Big Bash is proving itself more worthy of our interest.

      • January 12th 2017 @ 5:57pm
        Don Freo said | January 12th 2017 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

        Not for me. I love the Aussie ODI games.

        I can record the BBL and watch it later.

    • January 12th 2017 @ 6:30am
      Baz said | January 12th 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report

      i hope not i like ODI playing for australia is important and we need to be good at it to keep our no.1 status.

    • January 12th 2017 @ 8:13am
      I hate pies said | January 12th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      Is anyone still watching the BBL? It’s like deja vu every day. I can watch about 15 minutes of it before I’m bored.

      • Columnist

        January 12th 2017 @ 8:47am
        Brett McKay said | January 12th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Only an average of 1.26 Million people nationally during the second session last night..

        • January 12th 2017 @ 8:52am
          Christo the Daddyo said | January 12th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          And a sell-out at the ground itself don’t forget. By every single metric the BBL is going gangbusters.

          • January 12th 2017 @ 9:09am
            Celtic334 said | January 12th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

            It definitely is going gangbusters, however i do understand where I hate pies is coming from I am BBL fatigued now.

            • January 12th 2017 @ 9:26am
              Peter Z said | January 12th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

              I find that if a watch a couple of games a week, they’re great. Watching em night after night is overkill. I think water will find its own level in future summers and they’ll pull back on the coverage. In any case, T20 is a wonderful addition to cricket’s landscape. Domestic cricket had never been a commodity until they arrived. Indeed, instead of 20 odd guys making a squillion dollars on national contracts, we’re gonna have 100 to 150 players making serious money in seasons to come. That’s gotta be a massive positive in attracting talented young athletes to cricket. Instead of saying “Am I good enough to be 1 of 20”, it’ll now “be 1 of 150.” That’ll tantalize enough budding cricketers to stay true to their passion.

              • January 12th 2017 @ 9:52am
                I hate pies said | January 12th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

                Maybe that’s the secret Peter, just watch the games I’m interested in and not the rest. I’m a massive cricket lover, but I do find it a bit boring and repetitive watching BBL night after night.

              • Roar Guru

                January 12th 2017 @ 9:53am
                Magnus M. Østergaard said | January 12th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

                Part of the beauty of Big Bash is the wham bam thank you ma’am kind of season. Every day you wake up to a slightly changed ladder. The competition doesnt last long and is over before you know it. We are already down to the business end, it is only 12 days until the first Semi Final and and 9 days until the last regular season game. Should be a sparkling finish especially as all 8 teams still have a chance to make the finals and the HEat and Scorchers could both drop out altogether (unlikely) and the Sixers have a poor NRR so could easily be in touble if the lose both their final games.

              • January 12th 2017 @ 12:48pm
                BrainsTrust said | January 12th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                Because of the pay deal the cricketers struck based on percentage of revenue, the international cricketers wanted to share the international revenue with their domestic counterparts, as the revenue skytrocketed the Sheffield Shield players were going to become quite well paid.
                Just then the BIg Bash comes in, so they end up splitting the money. In a way it was ingenious from Cricket Australia, they were commited to paying X wages , they just split them between the Big Bash and the Sheffield Shield. even assuming the overseas players in the BBL don’t share in that pot, the older guys with box office like Shane Watson can get more of the money from the Big Bash.

              • January 12th 2017 @ 5:59pm
                Don Freo said | January 12th 2017 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

                The hint is to not bother about any results.

                Just watch the performances of the emerging Aussie kids…and the Marsh boys.

    • Roar Guru

      January 12th 2017 @ 1:00pm
      DingoGray said | January 12th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

      Not the Brisbane Heat

    • January 12th 2017 @ 3:13pm
      matth said | January 12th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

      Brisbane Heat look to be in trouble. While they have some quick scorers at the top of the order in Pierson and McCullum, they are much more hit and miss than Lyyn, who was somehow able to match speed and consistency. The middle order appeared to be too one-paced once they got behind the run rate.

      • Columnist

        January 12th 2017 @ 3:56pm
        Brett McKay said | January 12th 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

        Agree with that Matt. I was really surprised to see such big gaps in the Brisbane run-scoring – it’s not unusual to have three or four dominating the runs, but to Lynn that far ahead of McCullum, who in turn was that far ahead of Peirson, and then no-one else.. that really highlighted the struggles ahead for Brisbane, for me at least..

    • Roar Guru

      January 12th 2017 @ 3:27pm
      Jason Hosken said | January 12th 2017 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

      Has the bowling improved or has Lynn taken all the BBL roads with him to the ODI’s? No side has been able to find 4th gear this week.

      Funny how it works, then Hilfy comes in at #8 – still dining out on his Test 50 at Lords – and smashes the Stars to victory.

      Great comp and for me far more enjoyable than ODI’s.

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