This guide aims to show you how your club might line-up for the first round of matches in BBL|11.
While we started out without a huge amount of context, the announcement of the Aussie Test Squad and Aussie A side have made the picture clearer for a few players heading in to start the season.
Adding in the England Lions players, it’s practically carnage at some clubs * cough cough Brisbane Heat * before a ball has even been bowled! So let’s take a look.
We’ll constantly update this throughout the pre-season as new information drops. Each XI is named in likely batting order.
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Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mark Steketee (Aus A), Tom Abell (Eng Lions).
Who misses out:
All of their best players – barring Chris Lynn – are unavailable for their round 1 DGW. Neser, Steketee, Swepson alongside INTL Abel won’t play, which is just cruel! They’re super thin on the ground, with only Kuhnemann, Willans and Sully battling out for the final spot in the XI.
Two new internationals who could play attractive roles and are a watch. Ben Duckett will bat in the top three and would be a POD selection.
Tom Abell is in the same boat. He’s a crafty player who is being labelled an allrounder but don’t be fooled – he’s only bowled in eight T20 games in his career. Michael Neser on the Gabba could be something special when available.
Scott Boland has earned an Aus A call-up, ruling him out for potentially three rounds. Harry Brook is in the same boat.
Pending team balance, the ‘Canes might opt to field Mitch Owen at seven at the expense of either Paris or Boland. However, the Canes’ have opted for a bowling allrounder in Englishman Jordan Thompson for their final INTL signing which will likely see him out of the XI.
Paris is also under an injury cloud that has him in doubt for the opening rounds.
A full season of Matt Wade? Yes please. He’ll form one part of the scariest opening partnership in the league. Paris could also be a huge coup after crossing from Perth.
Tim David, after a breakout BBL10, has also now played in every major T20 comp around the globe and could float up the order to be a finisher.
Mitch Owen, bottom dollar rookie from last season, could come into selection contention with the omission of Boland from the early rounds, but as mentioned Thompson will likely thwart that.
Watch out for:
Harry Brook; don’t get sucked in. Young English bats have always struggled to get used to conditions Down Under.
Sandeep ($103k) is a great price for a frontline spinner. Josh Kann, a bottom-dollar rookie allrounder will be a popular selection. Joel Paris, if fit, could be a great cheapie.
The ‘Gades have now announced all internationals with the return of Nabi joined by quick Reece Topley (England) and batter Unmukt Chand (India).
Given his likelihood to feature in any Australia A stuff, Nic Maddinson is unlikely to start the season for his new club, but was named skipper meaning he’s likely to slot straight back in once available.
The inside word is that Mack Harvey is just in front of Jake Fraser-McGurk in the pecking order, however the injury to Shaun Marsh that’s expected to keep him out till the New Year should allow both to play prominent roles.
Sutherland should edge out competition from Jack Prestwidge and Zak Evans as the 5th bowler.
Out goes Beau Webster (Stars), in comes Nic Maddinson. Another year of experience for Fraser-McGurk and Mack Harvey could see them contribute more consistently, but neither have great roles.
Topley is a watch given his role will likely include death bowling. James Pattinson for a full season could be huge but Topley and Richardson will likely bowl death.
Watch out for:
$62k for Aaron Finch is hard to ignore, although there’s an injury cloud emerging putting him in doubt for the opening rounds. James Pattinson is a big watch having retired from Test cricket. He averaged 63 in his last full-season.
Gotch appears to have a serious injury, and Sam Whiteman – who was heavily rumoured to be moving from Perth has not eventuated. Nick Larkin, Tom O’Connell probably miss selection from the current players signed.
Joe Clarke will take the gloves for the Melbourne Stars. Seb Gotch seems like a lovely bloke, but has constantly underwhelmed with the bat and Clarke will most likely also be the new foil at the top of the order for the Stars.
There’s no Ben Dunk, and Beau Webster is now a genuine allrounder (albeit only listed as a BAT) and could be a watch. Joe Burns has also crossed over but his position in the side isn’t strong.
Watch out for:
Fortune favours the brave – Stars have the DGW in Round 3 so do you start with Stoinis and Maxwell? It could be the quite the anti-POD to wait until then to get them.
Beau Webster at $100k is intriguing if he bowls his overs. He’s likely to be the 6th bowling option at best, but if he bats at four and has the chance to jag a pole, he could be a POD. I’m hoping this is the year Maxwell returns to number 3 after making 4 his home.
The Scorchers have been hit hard by international selections to begin the tournament.
Inglis, Marsh and Agar all will miss the first few rounds and Aaron Hardie may crack the 11 as a batter only, similar to how Cameron Green played two years ago.
Barring a flurry of runs, Kurtis Patterson will be one of the first players dropped once players return.
International import Brydon Carse suffered a recent injury and will miss the tournament, leaving one international spot still open.
No Liam Livingstone or Jason Roy announced so far, which would significantly change the batting order.
Josh Inglis had a fantastic winter in England and should open – even without the double until Round 4, at $133k he is tempting. Beware however as his Australia A call up means he will miss the first three rounds.
Peter Hatzoglou has moved from the Renegades and should start as the first choice spinner with Agar unavailable.
Watch out for:
Mitch Marsh proved against the West Indies he’s a match-winner and at $132k will be in most people’s sides when available after Australian duties. He’s almost a ‘must-have’ should he secure the number three spot.
Ashton Agar is also incredible value at $90k but hasn’t previously replicated his Aussie form for Perth, again a watch on return. Turner, a fine player but never largely SC relevant, could be one to watch should he bat high to start the year – it’s a big ‘if’ though given his prowess in the middle order. The coach will likely be reluctant to change what’s worked for them.
No real surprises but Mahmood from England being in the Lions squad should see him missing the opening rounds.
Youngster Baxter Holt could come into selection contention but will likely start outside the best XI. Tremain is not in their best XI but could come in should Doggett not be fit for Round 1.
Unfortunately cheapie and boom rookie Ollie Davies suffered an injury playing Sydney Grade Cricket and will miss at least the opening rounds of the tournament.
This should see Jason Sangha come into the Round 1 line-up.
No captain Callum Ferguson paves the way for Ollie Davies (on return from injury) to bat in the top three for the Thunder. At $74k he’s a genuine cash cow and could be a great bench-loop option when the time is right.
Dan Sams keeps getting better and it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ you have him in your team. Matt Gilkes is a big winner from the Test recall for Khawaja and has an attractive role potentially on offer as an opener.
Watch out for:
Hales has gone on hot streaks the last two seasons. When in form, he’s worth the risk in the your team and can consistently pass 20 – you get the feeling however with Trevor Bayliss at the helm he could go even better.
Davies and Mahmood will be popular, and if Tanveer Sangha improves anymore he will be popular again. Doggett bowled death last season which is great for point scoring, but he can be inconsistent.
The return of Tom Curran is huge. Lloyd Pope and Ben Manenti may rotate with Bird pending conditions if the team want a second spinner – there’s rumours swirling of Bird’s injury potentially limiting his appearances for most of the season though.
Not a lot. Curran is the only new player in the XI. Unfortunately his previous batting prowess will be blunted now he’s behind Christian – he won’t bat above seven.
Similarly, Curran will take back the bulk of the death bowling overs from Christian meaning the two do hinder each other’s SuperCoach scoring potential, all the while making the Sixers a scarier prospect on the field.
Carlos Brathwaite has been ruled out of the tournament due to injury, Englishman Chris Jordan will take his spot, but only for the first five games of the tournament.
Watch out for:
Philippe will (rightly so) be popular, but with Inglis and Wade there’s now genuine ‘keeper alternatives. After the Round 1 DGW, picking the right time to trade him out will be crucial. A settled squad should be popular again given they’ve no bye.