The Big Bash League has established itself as one of the most watched T20 League across the globe. Many high-profile cricketers have participated in the competition over the years. It can safely be said that it is the biggest T20 League in the Southern Hemisphere. Since the inception of Big Bash League in 2011, the competition has gone on from strength to strength with an increase in audiences and television ratings.
The biggest attraction of Australia’s domestic season is back in town and then expectations and frenzy is building up. All the different squads are tweaking and working around with their combinations, and it promises to be a closely fought affair.
Adelaide Strikers surprised many with their performances and went onto lift their maiden Big Bash League title last year. The reigning champions will be keen to repeat their last year’s heroics as they have managed to retain their top players for the coming season. Last year, Hobart Hurricane played well to reach the finals of Big Bash League for the second time in the history of the competition.
Perth Scorchers has been the most successful franchise since the start of the Big Bash League in 2011. Scorchers have lifted the Big Bash League title on three occasions (2013-14, 2014-15 and 2016-17). Three-time champions performed well in group stages and qualified for the semifinals last year. They lost to Hobart Hurricanes in the 1st semifinal played in Big Bash League last season.
Defending Champions Adelaide Strikers will be favorites to lift the crown in the 8th edition of Big Bash League that begins from 19th December. Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Renegades are sides that will pose a serious challenge to other teams in the competition. Sydney Thunders will be dark horses for the coming season.
Here we take a look at all the different teams and try to find out their strengths and weaknesses. The eight Big Bash teams that contest the competition are the Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
Hobart Hurricanes surprised many with their performances last year and just missed out on winning their maiden BBL title. Captain George Bailey will be keen to produce another good display this season.
Last season, Hurricanes were pretty inconsistent in the round robin stages and managed five wins out of ten games played. The side certainly raised their game with the bat and ball to beat three-time champions Perth Scorchers to go through to the finals of the competition.
In a hard-fought contest, Hurricanes lost the finals to Adelaide Strikers by 25 runs. The franchise has not made any wholesale changes to the squad for the coming season. The signing of all-rounder James Faulkner is a good one as Daniel Christian has been picked up by Melbourne Renegades for the coming season.
In the batting department, Hurricanes will be relying on Opener D’Arcy Short, who topped the batting charts last year with 572 runs in 11 matches at an average of 57.32 with one century to his name. He was well supported by Ben McDermott, who scored 325 runs at an average of 36.11.
D’Arcy Short has struggled with inconsistency at the international level. There seems to over-reliance on Short in the batting department. The other players will need to put in crucial performances for the side in the coming season.
George Bailey, Matthew Wade, and Daniel Christian contributed well with the bat for Hurricanes last year. Wicket-keeper Matthew Wade will undoubtedly be keen to make an impression as Tim Paine is all set to miss the season due to his international commitments with the Australian cricket team.
The experienced players like George Bailey and Matthew Wade will need to shoulder more responsibility in terms of doing the bulk of the scoring for the side.
It will be interesting to see if all-rounder James Faulkner will get chance to redeem himself this season after signing for Hobart Hurricanes. Faulkner has undoubtedly struggled to make an impact with the bat and ball over the last couple of years. He will be keen to put in good performances for Hurricanes in the coming season.
In the bowling department, the dependence is clearly on right-arm quick Jofra Archer, who was franchise’s leading wicket last season with 16 scalps at an economy rate of 7.96. The loss of Daniel Christian is going to be a big one as he picked up crucial wickets for Hurricanes last season.
Pacer Tymal Mills and left-arm spinner Clive Rose are other prominent options for Hobart for the coming season.
Overall, Hobart might struggle to make an impact this year.
Reigning Champions Adelaide Strikers will be keen to continue their good perform in the coming season. The Strikers produced clinical performances last season to clinch their maiden BBL crown.
Captain Travis Head might miss this year’s Big Bash League due to international commitments for Australia. Jake Weatherald or Colin Ingram might take over as interim captain for Adelaide Strikers for the coming edition of Big Bash League. Former Australian pace bowler Jason Gillespie is the Head coach of Adelaide Strikers.
Matt Short and Cameron Valente are the newest acquisitions by Adelaide Strikers for this year’s competition.
Adelaide Strikers was the team of the tournament last year and is looking the likely candidate to lift the trophy once again.
In the batting department, Strikers will depend on Captain Travis Head, who scored 374 runs in 10 matches to help his side clinch their maiden Big Bash League title. Head is expected to miss the early round-robin games due to his international commitments with Australia. He is a part of Australia’s Test squad for home series against India.
Head will certainly be missed by Adelaide Strikers as he chipped in with noteworthy performances with the bat last season. The side will be banking on the form of wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey, who topped the batting charts for Adelaide Strikers with 443 runs to his name.
Colin Ingram also proved to be a valuable addition to the batting lineup and did a decent job for the side. Jake Weatherald also played well and scored 383 runs in last year’s competition.
Strikers will undoubtedly be looking towards the likes of Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald and Colin Ingram to do the bulk of the scoring. Jake Lehmann is another player to watch out for in the batting department in this year’s competition.
On the bowling front, Adelaide Strikers look a formidable unit with Peter Siddle and Billy Stanlake providing breakthroughs with the new-ball. Veteran pacer Peter Siddle was the most economical bowler for the side and played a crucial role in Strikers lifting their maiden crown.
In the bowling department, the team revolves around the magic of Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who picked up 18 wickets in the previous edition of Big Bash League. Michael Neser and Ben Laughlin also did a fantastic job for Strikers and picked up crucial wickets for the side during the last season of Big Bash League.
Overall, Adelaide Strikers look a formidable unit and might reach the semis in this year’s competition.
Sydney Sixers have been a consistent side in the BBL that keeps losing out in the critical moments. They have the squad to go over the line this season. Inaugural BBL Champions just missed out on a place in the semifinals in the previous edition. Captain Moises Henriques will be determined to do better in this year’s competition.
Sixers will be desperate to turn their fortunes around after managing to win only four out of the ten matches played last season. The franchise has released experienced players like Doug Bollinger, Nic Maddinson and Johan Botha for the coming season.
The Sixers have roped in England’s Joe Denly for this year’s competition. Denly has been in excellent form in the T20 format and recently made his international comeback for England in Sri Lanka. He could be a player to watch out for in this year’s Big Bash League.
In the batting department, Sixers will be relying on Daniel Hughes to do the bulk of the scoring. In the previous edition, Hughes scored 227 runs in 8 matches at an average of 37.38. The likes of Jordan Silk and Moises Henriques will need to raise their game with the bat if Sixers aims to go the distance this season.
Rookie Jack Edwards will make his debut in the Big Bash League after doing well in the first-class cricket for New South Wales. The batsman also smashed a century in the JLT Cup and looked promising player for the future.
Certainly, Sixers don’t have enough resources in the batting department and might sign one or two players bolster their squad for the coming season. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon will miss the early part of Big Bash League due to his international duties for Australia.
Stephen O’Keefe and Lloyd Pope are prominent spin options for Sydney Sixers for this year’s competition.
In the bowling department, the team will be heavily dependent on the likes of pacer Sean Abbott and Tom Curran to provide early breakthroughs for the side. Abbot claimed 13 wickets at an average of 21.76 in the previous edition of Big Bash League.
Ben Dwarshuis has been a consistent performer for Sydney Sixers with the ball in hand. He will be keen to do well in the upcoming season of Big Bash League.
Overall, Sydney Sixers don’t have the resources to go the distance in this year’s competition.
Brisbane Heat performed poorly in the previous edition of Big Bash League. 2012-13 BBL Champions will be keen to turn things around in this year’s competition. Brendon McCullum will once again lead the side for the tournament. Former New Zealand Captain Daniel Vettori is the head coach for the Brisbane Heat.
Opener Chris Lynn is one of the most accomplished T20 players in world cricket. He certainly can destroy any attack in the world when on-song with the bat. Lynn only made five appearances for the Heat in the previous edition due to injuries. The franchise will be hoping that Lynn can remain fit and available in this year’s competition. Lynn has been in fantastic form in the recent JLT cup and scored heavily in the 50-over competition.
Captain Brendon McCullum suffered from inconsistency in the previous edition of Big Bash League. He only averaged 24.8 with the bat in the ten matches played last season. McCullum will be determined to find form and get back amongst the runs in this year’s competition.
In the batting department, the team will be relying on the likes of Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn to get them off to a good start. The likes of Joe Burns, Matt Renshaw, Jimmy Pierson, and Alex Ross will need to contribute with the bat for Brisbane Heat.
Rookie Max Bryant might be a player to watch out for in this year’s competition. He smashed the quickest half-century in the JLT Cup and could be promoted up the order to score quick runs for the side.
All-rounder Ben Cutting is an experienced campaigner and will provide value with bat and ball. He will be keen to do well for Brisbane Heat and produce credible performances in this year’s competition.
In the bowling department, James Pattinson, Mark Steketee, and Brendan Doggett are prominent pace options for Brisbane Heat. Mitchell Swepson is a useful option in the spin department. The signing of Afghan off-spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman will undoubtedly bolster the bowling resources for Brisbane Heat. Mujeeb also played in the Indian Premier League and did exceedingly well for his franchise.
Jack Prestwidge is rookie pace bowler who might make few appearances for Brisbane Heat in this year’s competition. Alex Ross and Josh Lalor are useful bowling options for the side for this coming edition of Big Bash League.
Overall, Brisbane Heat will need to shrug off their inconsistencies to have a serious dash at the title.
The Melbourne Renegades have not achieved much in the history of Big Bash League. They have yet to qualify for the finals of the competition. Melbourne Renegades will be keen to go much better in the coming edition of Big Bash League.
In the previous edition, Renegades played really well throughout the competition and lost a close semifinal to Adelaide Strikers. The franchise will be looking to pick two high-profile players for the coming season to strengthen the overall squad. The departure of Dwayne Bravo will certainly hurt Renegades as he was the standout bowler for the side with 18 wickets in 11 matches. Renegades have released players like James Pattinson and Brad Hogg for this year’s competition.
The Renegades will be hoping that Kieron Pollard can fill the void left by Dwayne Bravo. Pollard has signed a two-year deal with the franchise. West Indies all-rounder has not done much over a past couple of years and will be keen to rediscover his mojo in this year’s Big Bash League.
The franchise has made decent acquisitions for the coming season and signed Dan Christian and Cameron Boyce to strengthen the squad. All-rounder Dan Christian was instrumental in helping Hobart Hurricanes qualify for the finals of Big Bash League last season.
In the batting department, Renegades will be banking on the middle-order batsman Cameron White, who scored 304 runs in the previous edition of Big Bash League. White will need to shoulder a lot of responsibility and do the bulk of the scoring for Renegades in the absence of Captain Aaron, who is on international duty for Australia.
Youngster Marcus Harris will also miss the early phase of the competition due to his maiden call-up to the national side. Tom Cooper has been a premier performer for the Renegades over the years. The all-rounder scored 298 runs in 11 matches at an average of 49.66 in the previous edition of Big Bash League.
Rookie Mackenzie Harvey might be a player to watch out for Renegades in this year’s competition. Pakistan’s Usman Khan Shinwari has been signed by the franchise to strengthen the bowling resources for the upcoming season.
In the bowling department, Renegades will be relying on Kane Richardson, Chris Tremain, and Joe Mennie to provide crucial breakthroughs with the ball. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi and Jon Holland are prominent options in the spin department.
Overall, Melbourne Renegades might not be favorites for this year’s competition due to the absence of key players.
Melbourne Stars have been the most competitive side in the history of Big Bash League. The team has qualified for the semifinals of the competition on six occasions (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016). The Stars endured their worst campaign ever in the previous edition of Big Bash League and finished bottom of the league table.
Last season, Stars only managed to win only two out of 10 matches played as Kevin Pietersen, Peter Handscomb and Rob Quiney were inconsistent throughout the competition. The side has gone for a complete overhaul as they signed high profile players like Dwayne Bravo and Sandeep Lamichhane.
West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has been an accomplished player in the T20 format and topped the bowling charts in the previous edition of Big Bash League. Bravo will be keen to contribute with bat and ball for Stars and help them get them off to a decent start this season.
The arrival of opening batsman Nic Maddinson and pacer bowler Jackson Bird will undoubtedly strengthen the overall squad. Maddinson played well for Sydney Sixers last season, was signed by Melbourne Stars for this year’s Big Bash League. The franchise has made their first international signing in Nepali Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who has done exceedingly well in IPL played earlier this year. He might turn out to be a big player for Stars in the coming season as he does bring an ‘X’ factor to the bowling department.
England pacer Liam Plunkett has been roped in by Melbourne Stars as a replacement for Matt Parkinson, who has been ruled out of Big Bash League with a back injury.
In the batting department, Stars will be relying on all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, to do the bulk of the scoring. Maxwell was the leading run scorer for Melbourne Stars last season with 299 runs in 9 matches. Melbourne Stars will be hoping that Maxwell can find form and produce consistency with the bat in this year’s competition.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis has been a premier player for the Melbourne Stars over the past few years. He only made five appearances for the side and scored 179 runs at an average of 44.75. Stars will be hoping that he certainly be available for the round-robin stages of this year’s Big Bash League. Peter Handscomb might miss a couple of games as he on international duties for Australia.
In the bowling department, Michael Beer and Adam Zampa are two prominent options for the franchise. Dwayne Bravo, Daniel Worrall, Liam Plunkett, and Jackson Bird are pace options included in the squad for the coming BBL season.
Overall, Melbourne Stars will need their big players to perform well if they aim to win their maiden crown this year.
Perth Scorchers have been the most consistent side in the tournament, and their brand of play is effective, and they know how to get over the line even from tight spots.
Scorchers have lifted the Big Bash League on three occasions, most by any side in the history of the competition. They have been consistently good in every season of the Big Bash League and will be expected to start as one of the favorites to lift the crown this season.
The side played exceedingly well in the round-robin stages of the competition last year and managed to win eight games out of 10 played. They were favorites to go the distance but were upstaged by Hobart Hurricanes, who produced a scintillating performance to qualify for the finals.
The retirements of Adam Voges and Mitchell Johnson will certainly test Scorchers bench strength in the coming season. Players like Ashton Agar, Mitchell Marsh, Andrew Tye, and Shaun Marsh might not be available due to international duties for Australia during the summer. They will miss the services of opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, who was banned by Cricket Australia for his alleged involvement in spot-fixing scandal.
In the batting department, Scorchers will be relying on Ashton Turner, who was leading run scorer for the franchise last season. All-rounder Hilton Cartwright and Michael Klinger will need to produce consistent scores for the side if Perth aims to remain competitive in the coming season of Big Bash League.
Ashton Agar and David Willey are useful players in the lower order and contributed with crucial runs with the bat last season. The franchise has signed Matthew Kelly, who made five appearances for the side last year.
In the bowling department, David Willey, Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson are prominent options for Perth Scorchers. Willey and Richardson did well last year for Perth Scorchers and will be keen to more of the same for the side this year.
Medium pacer Andrew Tye will be available for the early part of the season and will be crucial for Scorchers with the ball. He was the leading wicket-taker for the side in the previous edition of Big Bash League.
Rookie leg-spinner Usman Qadir might be a player to look out for in this year’s tournament. He has done well in the shortest format of the game. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar was excellent for the Scorchers last season. He bowled well in the middle overs of the innings and kept a lid on the rate of the scoring.
Overall, Scorchers always do well as a unit and have the resources at their disposal to go the distance and win this year’s competition.
The franchise had a forgettable season last year, as they managed to win only three wins in the eight league games. They could only manage the wooden spoon and hence, this new season is another opportunity for them to get their house in order.
The side has gone for a complete overhaul in terms of the squad for the coming season. The main decision by the franchise has been taken to increase batting resources for the coming season. All-rounder Shane Watson will lead the side for this year’s competition. Former New Zealand pace bowler Shane Bond is the head coach of the side.
England’s wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler did well for Sydney Thunder and scored 202 runs in 6 innings with two half-centuries to his name. Buttler will be hoping to play a much bigger role in the coming BBL season. Buttler will be available for the first half of the season for Sydney Thunders. Pace bowler Chris Jordan will replace Buttler in the second half of the season, due to his international duties for England.
England’s premier batsman Joe Root will make his first appearance in the Big Bash League. The right-handed batsman has done well in the T20 format at the international stage and averaged 35.77 with four half-centuries to his name. He will certainly bolster the batting resources for Sydney Thunders and will bring consistency to the top order.
Captain Shane Watson will be a crucial player for Sydney Thunder in this year’s tournament. He has done well in the Indian Premier League played earlier this year. Watson looks a rejuvenated figure and performed exceedingly well in the T20 format this year. He was leading run scorer for Sydney Thunder last season with 331 runs in 10 matches.
The arrivals of players like Daniel Sams, Sam Rainbird and Jason Sangha provides Thunder to experiment with a lot of strategies. Usman Khuwaja might be available for later stages of the competition. Left-handed batsman will miss the major portion of the competition due to his international duties for Australia. Pace bowler Pat Cummins might also make limited appearances due to his international engagements.
In the bowling department, the likes of Fawad Ahmed, Chris Green and Shane Watson are prominent options for Sydney Thunders. Sam Rainbird, Liam Hatcher, Chris Jordan, and Arjun Nair are other options available for the side for the coming season.
Overall, Sydney Thunders will put in a better display in the coming season of Big Bash League.
Reigning Champions Adelaide Strikers will start as favorites to win this year’s competition. The Strikers seems to have covered all the bases in terms of the overall squad. They might not lose too many players due to international engagements. The side has a number of quality players that can help them go the distance in this year’s competition.
Leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been instrumental in helping Adelaide Strikers clinch their maiden crown last season. He bowled well throughout the competition and was the leading wicket-taker with 18 wickets to his name. Strikers have a solid pace attack with Billy Stanlake, Peter Siddle and Michael Neser included in the squad.
Adelaide Strikers, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Thunders, Brisbane Heat
All-rounder Shane Watson has been in splendid form with the bat so far this year. He has been superb for Chennai Super League in the Indian Premier League played earlier this year. Watson might top the batting charts for the coming season
Rashid Khan will be leading wicket taker in the 8th edition of Big Bash League. He has produced impressive numbers in the recently T-10 League played in the UAE.