Big Bash 2017/18 Preview
Please see Trade on Sports Head Trader Matt Haynes preview of this years Big Bash.
The Strikers have put together a squad high on quality with the ball but severely lacking any sort of depth with the bat.
Big Bash debutant Colin Ingram (needs backing at 18 for top batsman) and captain Travis Head are the only proven T20 batsmen in the squad and Head is set to miss the second half of the tournament with the Australian one-day side. That means that plenty of runs will need to come from the unproven youngsters, so keep an eye out to see if any of them can step up and make a name for themselves in this year’s Big Bash, names to look out for are Weatherald, Carey or Lehmann.
The Strikers have made some very shrewd signings bowling wise with leg-spinner Rashid Khan and veteran Ben Laughlin who will in my opinion both be amongst the most dangerous bowlers in the competition. They have also brought in seamer Peter Siddle and these three bowlers will cause plenty of problems for any batsmen. They also have a number of promising young bowlers in O’Connor, Grant and Cormack, I do like there bowling unit but whichever way you look at it they look short with their batting unless one of the youngsters steps up and has a blinding tournament.
How will I play this year’s version of the Strikers? I’ll be looking at possibly backing them when bowling and then look for opportunities to oppose them when batting and especially when chasing a low score.
The Bash Brothers will once more return for the Heat and in B Mac & Lynn they have the sort of batting firepower that will destroy bowling attacks within the powerplay overs. Last year the duo combined for 632 runs with an average of 70.2 and a strike rate of 174. The rest of the batting line-up is also useful as Peirson, Ross, Burns & Heazlett can all score at a rapid rate.
My concern is their bowling as their pace attack is in my opinion the weakest in this year’s competition, they do have two good spinners in Pakistani internationals Khan & Shah but they will need a pace bowler to step up to really compete in the knock out stages.
How will I play this year’s version of the Heat? Given the vast gulf between the batsmen & bowlers we can back them to chase down big totals or oppose them defending a big total.
The Hurricanes batting line up has promise but equally could fall flat on its face, it’s a fine line. Bailey, Reardon & Christian are experienced and a decent backbone, at the top of the order they do look fragile with Wade, Short & McDermott but if one of those steps up and plays then there is huge potential for Hobart to be a major surprise in this year’s tournament as nobody gives them a hope.
Bowling wise they look ok with pacemen Mills, Archer & Curran all decent death bowlers, throw in decent leggie Boyce and a couple of promising Aussie youngsters then once more we can see the potential is there for this side to be better than the market expects.
How will I play this year’s version of the Hurricanes? In my opinion the market could have them severely underrated at 15.5 and I’ve chucked a few quid on the outright market at that price with my plan to exit and hedge across the book if they make the semi-finals.
The Renegades look like a serious contender this time around as they do look to have a very experienced squad with plenty of depth. Veteran batsmen like Hodge & Ludeman alongside Finch & White & Webster is a decent top order, add to that the all-rounders Nabi, Pollard and Bravo who can all score quickly and we can see a quality batting unit.
Bravo & Nabi will be important bowlers at key stages of the match add to that Wildermuth & Richardson as the pace attack and the bowling has a very solid look to it.
How will I play this year’s version of the Renegades? This is a very strong, balanced squad and I’ll be looking at getting them onside in the outright market if they lose there first match as their current price of 6.0 doesn’t appeal but something closer to 7.0 o 8.0 would, I can see them making the semi-finals at the very least.
The Stars are the chokers of the BBL, they are one of only two sides to reach all six semi-finals in the history of the competition but have only reached the final once from those six knock-out appearances.
Their batting as always looks formidable with Dunk, Wright & Pietersen the first three out of the shed followed by Stonis and Maxwell, that is a very explosive top 5 for me. Hastings, Faulkner & Handscomb are all handy with the willow as well so they bat deep.
On the bowling front we have Hastings, Faulkner & Boland as the pacemen and Zampa & Beer doing the tweaking to make what looks like on paper a very solid & balanced attack.
Now after describing what is a very solid squad, where it all falls apart for the Stars is International Duties as Handscomb, Stonis, Maxwell, Zampa & Faulkner could all be called up by their country and miss the 2nd half of the tournament, this would obviously severely weaken the team.
How will I play this year’s version of the Stars? I fully expect the Stars to make the semi’s and with this team it wouldn’t surprise me to see them win their first 5 or 6 games then when half their team is decimated by international call ups I’ll look to oppose them in the outright market at a low price.
The current title holders and three times champions have largely the same squad as last year and must be taken seriously even though they will lose the Marsh brothers, Bancroft, Agar & Cartwright to the Australian national squad at points during this tournament. Willey will also leave halfway through I presume to join England’s ODI squad. Also, all-rounder Coulter-Nile & wicket-keeper Whiteman are both inured and expected to miss matches. This would decimate most teams but Perth seem to be averse to this as they have an immensely deep squad and keep on finding decent youngsters, Ashton Turner springs to mind. This time around their batting does look a little light-weight ONLY when the above mentioned depart for their country’s call as all they would have left is Klinger & Turner, this is unless they unearth another youngster.
This brings us onto the bowling which is particularly impressive with Behrendorf, Willey, Johnson & Tye all very, very good T20 bowlers. They are masters at defending a low total and this must be always in your mind when trading them.
How will I play this year’s version of the Scorchers? I don’t agree with them being favourites at all as I believe a couple of other teams have stronger squads this time around but the three-time champions cannot be totally discounted. One angle I will be using I alluded to above, I will be backing them to defend low totals especially at home.
The Sixers have a strong squad that is unchanged from last season when they finished runners up, batting wise it looks a strong top order with Billings, Roy, Hughes, Maddinson & Henriques, after those though it looks a bit thin to me and if they lose three or four wickets early then they could quite easily collapse.
Bowling wise they have Abbot on pace duty and he’s a quickie I like, the other pace men are inexperienced but are more than capable of stepping up, which one of them really needs to otherwise a return to the final won’t be happening. Spin wise they have a very strong attack with Botha, O’Keefe and a returning Nathan Lyon after the conclusion of the Ashes.
How will I play this year’s version of the Sixers? A lot of people see this team as a dark horse but I disagree as their pace bowling is just too weak, also Billings & Roy will be called up by England halfway through the tournament so that will severely weaken their top order and leave them a couple of world class batsmen light. I can see them fighting out 4th spot with Hobart at best this time around.
The perineal bottom feeders and the team with the worst record in the history of the BBL. To be fair they have looked at and addressed their major issue from last season by adding batsmen Buttler & Ferguson. Khawaja who missed all last season should return at some point and will further bolster their batting line up, which at times last year was truly awful. In my honest opinion Watson, Blizzard and Roher all need to be dropped or retire as they are holding this side back.
Bowling wise McClenagham is the spearhead and he’s not one to be trusted so they will need Sandhu, Green or Ahmed to step up and to be honest there bowling looks weak unless dramatic improvement is found.
How will I play this year’s version of the Thunder? I like the additions to their batting but cannot have there bowling attack at all and I can see them struggling once more, a team to avoid for me as they will win some games but will need some improvement from the old guys or one of the youngsters to step up. Given the weakness of there bowling I’d look to oppose them when trying to defend a total.