Fletcher, Holder & Imad: What this week’s BBL signings means for SuperCoach

Several Big Bash League clubs have frantically made last-minute signings over the past week and added replacement players but expect a few more ahead of the BBL|10 season proper.

While imports look all but settled, the upcoming Australia and Australia A matches mean more replacements are likely, so keep an eye out for bargain priced additions who may play.

As always, it’s hard to keep up so here’s a rundown of the past week, hopefully it helps with your planning with the season less than a week away!

Also Honeyball’s SuperCoach BBL Magazine is OUT NOW! We’ve got an early bird special until midnight Monday 7 December for just $4.95 (less than a coffee, kinda). Purchase yours via this link.

Melbourne Stars

Jonny Bairstow’s ($175k WKP/BAT) sudden unavailability threw a cat amongst the pigeons at Stars HQ but they acted swiftly to land West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman Andre Fletcher ($138k WKP/BAT) who will be available all season up until Australia Day.

Stars coach Dave Hussey said Fletcher would “bring plenty of power and entertainment at the top of the batting order”, so expect him to bat in the top three.

He batted as an opener and first drop for St Lucia Zouks in the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), with more success at three. He averaged 34.25 BBL SC points in this year’s CPL.

Given he’s a gloveman available most of the season, his arrival may impact Seb Gotch ($62k WKP/BAT) and Ben Dunk’s ($62k WKP/BAT) hopes of games.

The Stars also re-signed Dilbar Hussain ($62k BWL) and he’s a handy addition for a fast bowling line-up arguably short on quality. He was quite good in this year’s Pakistani Super League, averaging 57.33 BBL SC points in the recent play-offs.

He tested positive to COVID-19 while in hotel quarantine in Perth but should be available Round 1 and would be in their best XI.

The Stars now have four international signed up, so they’ll need to juggle them (only three can play at once) once Nicholas Pooran ($175k WKP/BAT) is available around Christmas until early-to-mid January.

Sydney Sixers

There’s been some speculation about this move but it appeared off, however the Sixers landed West Indies captain and T20 gun Jason Holder ($175k BAT/BWL) for three games around Christmas.

He’s an elite T20 player who averaged 67.5 BBL SC points in the 2020 Caribbean Premier League and 73.72 BBL SC points in the 2020 IPL. He has a perfect role, being a lock for four quality overs and as a middle-order big-hitter, who delivers more often than not.

Tom Curran will return for Holder’s second and third games, so expect the West Indian’s arrival to impact Carlos Brathwaite ($160k BAT/BWL) most.

Could also impact all-rounder Dan Christian ($105k BAT/BWL) for Holder’s first game, if they elect to play him and Brathwaite, but then again he just scored a century in 33 balls in a trial match!

The Sixers have also been busy adding replacement players which was expected given their Australia reps in Mitch Starc, Sean Abbott and Jackson Bird. Their absences severely deplete their quick bowling options.

As a result, in comes Gurinder Sandhu (Price TBC BWL), Tom Rogers ($78k BWL) and Lawrence Neil-Smith ($42k BWL). Expect one of them, likely one of the former two, to get a game or two early.

Melbourne Renegades

Pakistani all-rounder Imad Wasim ($160k BAT/BWL) has been recruited by the Gades, which seems to have evolved with Mohammad Nabi ($191k BAT/BWL) increasingly likely to miss games in January on Afghanistan duty against Ireland.

Imad is available from Christmas onwards, so the Renegades will have four internationals available at once, meaning they’ll be rotating three on field.

As a result, job security is a worry but Imad is an excellent T20 player, who primarily a spinner but bats very well, helping Karachi Kings recently to the PSL title with a play-offs BBL SC average of 45.5. Expect him to bat middle order, after Rilee Rossouw ($160k BAT) and bowl 3-4 overs per game.

Brisbane Heat

Brisbane have heaps of players unavailable due to national duty, including Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Burns, Mark Steketee and Mitch Swepson, plus their English duo Tom Banton and Lewis Gregory.

So they’ve added three replacement players in Simon Milenko ($71k BAT/BWL), Lachy Pfeffer ($42k WKP/BAT) and Jack Wood ($42k BWL).

Of the three, ex-Hurricane Milenko seems most likely to come into calculations to play given his all-rounder status and Gregory’s absence. Milenko and Simon Bazley ($42k BAT/BWL) could contend for a spot, although Jack Wildermuth ($62k BAT/BWL) is likely their main all-rounder initially.

Hobart Hurricanes

No changes. Likely to add a replacement player to cover Tim Paine and/or Matthew Wade before BBL|10 starts. In-form Caleb Jewell (Price TBC BAT) may get a gig.

Adelaide Strikers

No changes. May add a replacement player for Travis Head, Michael Neser or Harry Conway next week.

Perth Scorchers

No changes. May add a replacement player for Cam Green and Ashton Agar next week.

Sydney Thunder

No changes. Adam Milne ($125k BWL) is expected to arrive alongside coach Shane Bond from NZ on Friday 4 December. Unaffected by Australia call-ups.

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