The Ashes is getting so close you can almost smell the leather.
This week’s squad announcements will help coaches gain clarity for their all important starting sides.
A 15-man Test squad for the first two Ashes Tests will keep players out for the first five rounds, while those selected for Australia A will miss at least the first two rounds, and most likely three.
But when one door closes, another opens, so here are the winners and losers for BBL SuperCoach following this week’s announcement.
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Usman Khawaja’s call-up to the Test squad creates a vacancy at the top of the order for the Thunder, and the young leftie Gilkes could be the beneficiary. Still only 22-years of age, the youngster can really motor when on song, but has largely underwhelmed in his appearance for the Thunder to-date. Still, the price and role are fantastic, so Gilkes could be a solid cash cow given he could also wear the gloves for the Thunder.
Jack Wildermuth – $155k
One of the surprise packets from last season, Wildermuth will fill the void in the Brisbane Heat line-up decimated by Australia and Australia A selections. With no Steketee, Neser or Swepson, Wildermuth could bat as high as no.6 and will likely take the new ball for the Heat. He’s not cheap, but the role is SuperCoach gold and with the round 1 DGW, you can expect his ownership to sky-rocket.
Harry Nielsen – $76.2k
Already one of the prime cheapie options for this season, Nielsen has further cemented his potentially mouth-watering role at the top of the order for the Strikers following the selections of Travis Head (Test), Matt Renshaw (Australia A) and Alex Carey (Australia A). With no Phil Salt this year the Strikers already needed an opening batter and Nielsen now looks primed to stake his claim alongside Weatherald. Great price, great role and with the DGW in Round 2, he’s an astute bench selection for your team.
Already firming as a popular cheapie, Paris’ place in the pecking order has firmed with Scott Boland’s elevation into the Australia A side. Behind Nathan Ellis and Riley Meredith, Paris should be odds on to take over the vacancy left by James Faulker. It could purely come down to his fitness or the final INTL player signed by the ‘Canes.
Jake Fraser-McGurk – $65k
Newly minted Renegades skipper Nic Maddinson will miss the opening round on Australia A selection, paving the way for Jake Fraser-McGurk to resume his spot in the middle order for the Renegades. The role isn’t great, but at just $65k and with low-ownership, he’s a watch.
Peter Hatzoglou, Lance Morris – $131k, $62.5k
From fringe to first grade, off-season recruits Peter Hatzoglou and Lance Morris should be in the Scorchers best XI for the first three rounds. Hatzoglou will cost a premium but will be the first choice spinner with only the very part-time Ashton Turner as bowling support in the top 6. Morris’ record of one wicket from seven prior games isn’t great reading, he’s young and has looked an improved player in Shield and List A cricket this summer.
Three popular Scorchers studs who are all underpriced and in the prime of their careers will be wasting away in a meaningless red-ball game for the first three rounds of SuperCoach. Pending fitness they should all return to the Scorchers in time for the DGW so keep them on the watch-list.
Certified SuperCoach stud who would’ve been extremely popular for the Round 1 DGW, but will now have to bide his time before getting the white ball back in his hand. His form with the red ball has been superb for the last two seasons and his selection for Australia A is a fantastic reward, albeit a huge loss for the BBL.
See Matt Gilkes section above. Despite not delivering in spades last season, $93k for an opener from a quality side will always tempt SuperCoaches.
Ever popular cheapie, Edwards looked set to benefit most should Moises Henriques have received the expected call up to the Australian squads, but the Manly opener will have to bide his time most likely as 12th man.
Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
Australia A players:
Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street