Positional analysis: Wicketkeeper breakdown, verdict

We take an in-depth look at the wicketkeeper position, assessing the best options to get you off to a flyer.

Pre Season

In each positional analysis I’ll aim to break down the key options for each price point (premium, mid and cheap).

Whilst prices will fluctuate based on performances throughout the season, planning ahead on who you’ll get in and when is all the more important in BBL SuperCoach due to the double game weeks. The Spy has given a great rundown on these here.

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With only two slots for wicketkeepers and one slot scoring points on the field, this could be a make-or-break position for your team.

It’s also interesting to note that every wicketkeeper currently in the game has dual positioning as WKP/BAT.

So you can easily opt to slot in more in the batsman slots. This could come in handy for forward planning for the double game weeks.

There have been a few tweaks to the scoring system this season. Points are no longer awarded for runs exceeding balls faced (e.g., a score of 40 off 20 balls would gain an additional 20 points) and instead will be awarded based on strike rate when a player scores 20+ runs.

Points are also no longer awarded for 4’s and 6’s (previously 1 bonus point per 4 and 2 bonus points per 6) but will be awarded for half-centuries (10 points) and centuries (20 points).

Strike Rate Bonus
Strike Rate of 160+ 25 points
SR of 150-159.99 20 points
SR of 140-149.99 15 points
SR of 130-139.99 10 points
SR of 120-129.99 5 points
(must score 20+ runs for SR bonus)

I don’t expect these changes to have a major impact to wicketkeeper-batsman, but they do reduce their upside a little bit. In some cases, the changes may benefit pinch hitters who are at a cheap price and can notch a quickfire 20.

Now onto the options.

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Premiums ($140k plus)

Not a whole lot to choose from here with Matthew Wade, Johnny Bairstow, Sam Billings and Tom Banton all unlikely to be available for the early part of the tournament due to international duties. That leaves Nicholas Pooran ($175k), Josh Inglis ($161.9k) and Josh Phillipe ($150.8k).

Pooran averaged 35 in this year’s IPL, with a massive strike rate of 170. He also starts the campaign with a double game week. However, its unknown at this stage where he’ll bat in the Stars line-up and it will be interesting to see how he handles Australian conditions.

Furthermore, he appears unlikely to begin the tournament, but he does remain a chance so keep your eyes peeled.

*UPDATE: Pooran won’t be available until December 26 where he will play six games.

Inglis was outstanding for the Scorchers last season and averaged 56.6 SC points across the campaign. He also has two centuries and one half-century already in the Sheffield Shield this season.

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It seems likely he’ll open at least for the early part of this BBL season, with Liam Livingstone and Jason Roy both on England duty. There’s no early double game week for the Scorchers though. Inglis won’t have a double until round 10.

Philippe looks set to open again for the Sydney Sixers this season and once more presents as a very solid option. Last season he averaged a very respectable 52.7 SC points and was a mainstay of many SC sides.

The Sixers have their double game week in round 6, so you could look to start with him and hold at least until then. 

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Mid-rangers ($80k – $140k)

Some interesting options here, particularly for those who want to take a punt on Hurricanes players for their double game week.

Peter Handscomb ($97.6k) and Ben McDermott ($89.7k) both dropped down to the middle order at stages last season, which may have impacted their SC output.

Handscomb has come across from the Melbourne Stars and could see more opportunity with his new side.

McDermott has shown his talent in the past for the Hurricanes, including an incredible 114 off 52 balls in the 2016/17 BBL.

His Shield form has also been good this season, with two 90’s plus two half centuries to his name. Last season the Hurricanes tended to use him more in the middle order though, dropping as low as five and six on occasions.

Sam Harper ($119.3k) showed potential last season, with a high score of 73 off 46 balls.

Cameron Bancroft ($84.2k) is another one of interest if given the opportunity. He has a career batting average of 32 in T20. He’s perhaps unlikely to capitalise on strike rate bonuses though with a T20 career strike rate of 123.

He was also up and down the order a lot for the Scorchers last season, batting as low as six or seven on occasions.

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Cheapies ($80k or less)

The way the emergencies are set up this year, wicketkeeper looks a prime position to use the vice-captain loophole.

With only one keeper slot available, you can put a non-playing player on the field and still guarantee the points you’ll get from your wicketkeeper.

We don’t have that same luxury in other positions, where the lowest scoring player from your emergencies in the position will be used. This could make Baxter Holt ($42k) invaluable this season (provided that he doesn’t actually play).

Not to mention that he is $20k cheaper than any other wicketkeeper and seems unlikely to be used as an X-factor sub under the new BBL rules.

There are a few other options that interest me in this price-bracket, particularly given they can also be selected as batsman.

It’s worth keeping an eye on Jimmy Peirson’s ($69.7k) role with the Brisbane Heat. He has opened for them in the past and is in fine form in the Shield, with a last start century and half centuries in each of the games before that.

At this price range, I think it’s really just a matter of any opportunities up the batting order.

So keep an eye on Harry Nielsen, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch and Matthew Gilkes (all $62.5k) as well.

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Verdict

With only one wicketkeeper spot on the field, I don’t really want to muck around in this position.

Phillipe looks pretty secure at the top of the order for the Sixers and has plenty of potential to go large. Locking him until the Sixers double game week in round 6, then reassessing, is a good play.

I don’t expect Josh Inglis to be highly owned, so he could be an early season POD. Personally, I like to save riskier moves for later in the season though.

For those looking to punt on early double game week options, there’s a few ways you could do this. You could start with Pooran (if playing), then downgrade to Handscomb/McDermott for the next week, freeing up cash to use elsewhere. Or simply lock-in Handscomb/McDermott from the start.

As backup wicketkeeper Baxter Holt could give your team a real advantage as a cheap non-player. I find it hard to go past him provided he doesn’t get a start with the Thunder.

Good luck with your planning and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the other positions in the coming weeks!

3 Responses to “Positional analysis: Wicketkeeper breakdown, verdict”

  1. michaelfisher

    Pun intended!
    For me it’s Phillipe and the internationals (Bairstow etc.) when they’re available.
    I completely forgot about Carey as he hadn’t been added to the game when I was doing the write-up. He looks pretty essential for Adelaide’s early double game weeks if he’s available.

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