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Big Bash League season preview: The lowdown for every team in BBL11

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Expert
3rd December, 2021
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The BBL fireworks are about to light up the summer sky on and off the field.

The Sydney Sixers, who are gunning for a third straight title and will again be the team to beat, have the honour of hosting the season opener at the SCG on Sunday night against the Melbourne Stars.

The Stars, three-time bridesmaids but never the brides, and the Perth Scorchers, who lost last season’s final, are the main contenders to the Sixers’ throne. But such is the beauty of the Big Bash League, the remaining five teams all have the ability to get hot and mount a playoff push.

While the BBL has been criticised for lacking star power in recent seasons, the likes of Alex Hales, James Vince, Tymal Mills and Rashid Khan bring a strong international flavour to the tournament.

Jordan Silk and James Vince of the Sixers celebrate winning a Big Bash League

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

And on the local front, emerging stars like Josh Inglis, D’Arcy Short and Tanveer Sangha are expected to continue their rapid rises alongside the likes of established names such as Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn.

Team by team, here’s how all eight clubs are lining up heading into the new season.

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Adelaide Strikers

Coach: Jason Gillespie

Squad: Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, George Garton, Ryan Gibson, Spencer Johnson, Rashid Khan, Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Matt Renshaw, Liam Scott, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall.

Last season: Semi-finalists

The go-to guy: Rashid Khan is always a handful in any format, the shorter the better. It’s a shame various circumstances conspired against him and his team playing what would have been a historic Test for Afghanistan in Hobart this summer.

Rashid Khan

(Photo by Mark Brake – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images )

The wild card: English left-armer George Garton comes to the franchise with an impressive record in short-form cricket and is a genuine wicket taker who could nicely complement the likes of Peter Siddle, Khan and Daniel Worrall.

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The outlook: With Jason Gillespie at the helm, any team is a chance of doing well. The availability of Travis Head and Alex Carey will be limited but they have a strong all-round squad capable of making a dent in the finals.

Playup.com.au odds: $11

Brisbane Heat

Coach: Wade Seccombe

Squad: Tom Abell, Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Max Bryant, Tom Cooper, Ben Duckett, Sam Heazlett, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Chris Lynn, Michael Neser, Jimmy Pierson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mark Steketee, Connor Sully, Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth, Matthew Willans.

Last season: Third

The go-to guy: Chris Lynn. In BBL, there’s been no better clean striker of the ball and the Heat’s chances rely so heavily on the veteran batter.

Chris Lynn of the Heat bats during the Big Bash League

(Brett Hemmings – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

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The wild card: Mitchell Swepson would be playing Test cricket this summer if Shane Warne was a selector and the Heat’s all-time leading wicket taker with 39 since his debut in 2016 can apply plenty of pressure when opposing batters are looking to up the ante.

The outlook: After a dreadful start they finished with a wet sail last season before being eliminated by Perth one game short of the final so if they get off to a flyer this time around, they’re likely to be hosting playoffs and be a strong chance to add to their only BBL title from 2013.

Playup.com.au odds: $9

Hobart Hurricanes

Coach: Adam Griffith

Squad: Scott Boland, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Peter Handscomb, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Mitch Owen, Wil Parker, D’Arcy Short, Matthew Wade (c), Mac Wright, Sandeep Lamichhane, Caleb Jewell, Joel Paris, Harry Brook, Josh Kann, Tom Rogers, Jordan Thompson.

Last season: Sixth, missing finals on net run rate

The go-to guy: D’Arcy Short at the top of the order can swing a match from the get-go but the Hurricanes have probably been too reliant on his success in recent seasons. He bludgeoned 345 runs, including 47 sixes, last season and will again be pushing for national team selection.

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D'Arcy Short of the Hurricanes bats during the Big Bash League

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The wild card: Scott Boland is another player who has had tastes of Australian selection but is yet to establish a place in any format. His form in first-class cricket with Victoria this summer has been sensational and should provide the Hurricanes with a steady flow of wickets.

The outlook: They seem to be lacking a bit of X-factor but if veteran skipper Matthew Wade can replicate his T20 World Cup form, Hobart could be there when the whips are cracking at season’s end.

Playup.com.au odds: $6.50

Melbourne Renegades

Coach: David Saker

Squad: Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson (c), Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Mohammad Nabi, Zahir Khan.

Last season: Eighth (last)

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Go-to guy: Former Stars batter Nic Maddinson is a confidence player who can deliver in all formats and national white-ball skipper Aaron Finch has surprisingly opted to drop the leadership duties at the Renegades. Incoming coach David Saker has handed responsibility to Maddinson and on the back of strong form in four-day cricket, it could be a masterstroke for the classy left-hander.

Nic Maddinson of the Stars bats during the Big Bash League

Nic Maddinson during his time at the Stars. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The wild card: Indian import Unmukt Chand is a veteran of the IPL with Delhi, Mumbai and Rajasthan who can bring proven run-scoring ability as a top-order batter.

The outlook: Saker is a demanding presence and he will be drilling improvement into the team in every facet of the game. They have the potential to return to the playoffs but are not one of the favourites to be lifting the trophy at season’s end.

Playup.com.au odds: $14

Melbourne Stars

Coach: David Hussey

Squad: Glenn Maxwell (c), Qais Ahmad, Joe Burns, Hilton Cartwright, Joe Clarke, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sam Elliott, Syed Faridoun, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchcliffe, Nick Larkin, Tom O’Connell, Sam Rainbird, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Beau Webster, Adam Zampa.

Last season: Seventh, but at least they were ahead of the Renegades

Go-to guy: Adam Zampa was unlucky not to be named player of the tournament at the T20 World Cup ahead of David Warner and the short-form specialist is in career-best form, limiting runs in the middle of innings and making breakthroughs on a regular basis with his elite ability to consistently land his wrong-uns.

Adam Zampa of the Stars celebrates a wicket during the Big Bash League

(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The wild card: English import Joe Clarke has tons of short-form experience at the Perth Scorchers, the Pakistan Super League and the Hundred and has the ability to clear pickets and rack up runs at a strike rate of 150-plus.

The outlook: They’re always in contention but their three trips to the final are yet to yield a trophy. They are highly unlikely to be affected by player call-ups to the Ashes so they should make a comeback to the playoff equation.

Playup.com.au odds: $5.50

Perth Scorchers

Coach: Adam Voges

Squad: Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Cooper Connolly, Laurie Evans, Aaron Hardie, Peter Hatzoglou, Nick Hobson, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Mitch Marsh, David Moody, Tymal Mills, Lance Morris, Colin Munro, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner (c), Andrew Tye, David Moody (replacement for Jhye Richardson).

Last season: Runners-up

Go-to guy: It’s hard to believe Colin Munro was left out of New Zealand’s T20 World Cup squad as the 34-year-old batter on his day is one of the premier strikers on the planet.

Colin Munro bats

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The wild card: Josh Inglis was perilously close to getting a Test call-up instead of Alex Carey to replace Tim Paine so he’s highly regarded by national selectors. A squad member for the successful T20 World Cup campaign, the keeper-batter can turn a game with his hitting firepower.

The outlook: They should be finals certainties, as usual, and especially if Jhye Richardson is not needed for Test duty, they are a strong chance to claim their fourth trophy. They’ve added England seamer Tymal Mills as a late signing to further boost their chances.

Playup.com.au odds: $5

Sydney Sixers

Coach: Greg Shipperd

Squad: Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Daniel Christian, Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Daniel Hughes, Chris Jordan, Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon, Ben Manenti, Stephen O’Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk, James Vince.

Last season: Champions

Go-to guy: It looks like Moises Henriques may never play international cricket again, which is a shame because the 34-year-old was recalled to the Test squad for the aborted tour of South Africa earlier this year.

Moises Henriques of the Sixers bats during the Big Bash League

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The wild card: English batter James Vince hasn’t always lived up to his billing as one of the world’s best short-form players when he’s been in the BBL but he came through when it mattered last season with match-winning innings in the qualifier and final.

The outlook: There have been very few changes to last year’s squad – English all-rounder Tom Curran comes in for West Indies star Carlos Brathwaite so they won’t lose too much firepower there. A third straight title is a decent bet.

Playup.com.au odds: $4.40

Sydney Thunder

Coach: Trevor Bayliss

Squad: Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Baxter Holt, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain, Alex Hales, Sam Billings, Baxter Holt, Saqib Mahmood, Jason Sangha.

Last season: Third then eliminated in the knockout

Go-to guy: English opener Alex Hales has chalked up a whopping 1119 runs over the past two BBL campaigns with the Thunder, including a league-best 543 last summer. He will have crowds on their feet and ducking for cover.

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Alex Hales of the Thunder bats

(Photo by Chris Hyde – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

The wild card: Ollie Davies is considered a white-ball rising star in Australian cricket circles but will be hit and miss, literally, for the Thunder. If he fires, his one-two punch with Hales could combine to land a few knockout blows on opponents.

The outlook: Probably the hardest team to predict, they have historically done well when expectations are low and they’re not necessarily ranked among the cream of this season’s crop.

Playup.com.au odds: $7.50

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