10 BBL|11 players with potential international call-ups looming this season

SuperCoach BBL is a minefield when it comes to knowing who’s available and who’s not, due to international fixtures, rival leagues and random tours, so here’s 10 popular players we’ve flagged.

Obviously this summer the big fixture clash with BBL is the Ashes which will run concurrently from early December until mid-January, ruling out a host of first-choice Test players from both countries. It’s not yet clear if members of Australia’s Ashes squad will be released to play BBL if not in the XI, but they weren’t last season and the recent introduction of concussion subs means teams usually keep a few on hand.

A 25-member Australian party will gather in Brisbane ahead of the First Test starting on December 8 (BBL starts on Sunday December 5), which is expected to be announced after Saturday’s T20 World Cup clash with the West Indies, offering more clarity for SuperCoaches.

That group will play an internal match in the lead-up to the First Test. It’s also anticipated 11-12 players from the 25-member cohort will be held over for the Australia A game against the English Lions running December 9-12. Some may be added from BBL clubs too (it happened last year so keep an eye out).

That English Lions team also features a handful of BBL-contracted players too, which means they’ll miss the first few rounds.

Take note, the first SuperCoach round runs from Sunday December 5 until Wednesday December 8, the second round until Saturday December 11 and Round 3 until December 15, before a brief break until Round 4 starts on December 19.

Check out our international tours/schedule to get a clearer picture.

So here’s 10 players to flag for possible national call-ups during BBL:

Usman Khawaja $93k BAT

Khawaja is currently owned by 21.3% of SuperCoaches given his form and juicy price, so his potential international selection is very relevant. Khawaja, who turns 35 in December, has hit back-to-back Sheffield Shield centuries putting him back in the national frame. The question is will the selectors return to the veteran who hasn’t played at Test level since August 2019? You’d think if they count age against him for the Ashes, they won’t bother pick him for the Australia A game too. There’s a genuine case for a recall but it’s all in the selectors’ hands.

Prognosis: Monitor selectors’ comments.

Alex Carey $163k BAT/WKP

If you’re one of the 16.8% of SuperCoaches who own Carey, don’t expect the Strikers wicketkeeper-batsman to be available to play BBL early. Carey seems the most likely player to get called into the wider 25-man Australian group as wicketkeeper cover for Tim Paine, given Matthew Wade (who was Paine’s gloveman cover last summer) lost his spot in the Test squad for the South Africa series that never happened. And it was Carey who came in for him. Wade hasn’t had a chance to mount a case for re-selection in the Shield due to his T20 World Cup duties, so there’s a thought he could be in the 25-man squad, which plausibly could free up Carey as there’s no need for double wicketkeeping cover. Then again, Carey could warrant a spot with his batting alone.

Prognosis: Expect him out early at a minimum.

Sam Billings $136k WKP/BAT

This may seem like an odd flag given Billings isn’t part of England’s Ashes squad nor their Lions cohort, but the wicketkeeper-batsman was called into the English Test squad in August as cover for Jos Buttler, when he left the bubble for the birth of his second child. Jonny Bairstow would likely take the gloves in Buttler’s absence and Billings would only be back-up, but the point is he’s an injury away from a call-up. England’s Ashes squad is only 18 members’ strong and given current quarantine challenges to get into Australia, the tourists may be forced to turn to players already here in the event of injuries. Sometimes these call-ups happen with no notice, mid-SuperCoach round, and cost you a trade you had other plans for.

Prognosis: Monitor.

**Our annual Honeyball BBL digital magazine will be out this month, with interviews with experts including last year’s SuperCoach BBL winner, as well as fixture analysis, form guides, international info, player profiles and much much more. Register your interest for a copy via this link.

Saqib Mahmood $125k BWL

The Thunder import is part of the Lions group that will play Australia A, ruling him out of the first three SuperCoach BBL rounds. But like Billings, he’s potentially an injury away from an Ashes call-up. Mahmood has no Test caps but he took 28 wickets from eight County Championship games at 23.89 for Lancashire in 2021 and crucially will be in Australia. He’s been a reserve in recent Test tours of Sri Lanka and India. Mahmood was added to England’s Second Test squad against India in August when Stuart Broad was ruled out. England’s 18-man Ashes squad includes six quicks plus all-rounder Ben Stokes, so there’s depth.

Prognosis: Just a flag.

Michael Neser $127k BAT/BWL

The Heat added Neser as an all-rounder option and he’s priced generously to attract 17.2% of SuperCoaches. But he’s been a regular in Test squads in recent times and appears a lock to be part of the group that gathers in Brisbane for the 25-man camp, probably playing for Australia A against the Lions. Whether he’s released after that game, freeing him up from Round 3 in BBL SC, is important. He’s missed a few Shield games lately after his wife gave birth to their first child but that shouldn’t impact his national selection.

Prognosis: Expect him out early at a minimum.

Sean Abbott $169k BWL

The Sixers bowling all-rounder is a tantalizing option given his side have a Round 1 double but we’ll cut to the chase, he won’t be there. Abbott’s first-innings 6fa in the Shield last week practically confirmed he’ll be part of the Ashes or Australia A teams. Abbott, like Carey and Neser, was named in the Test tour of South Africa for March that never happened, so he’s an effectively an incumbent. He was also part of last summer’s Test squad to face India. With James Pattinson retired, Abbott’s grip on a spot is more firm.

Prognosis: Expect him out for the Ashes.

Travis Head $151k BAT/BWL

The Strikers skipper is slightly different to Carey, Neser and Abbott as he lost his spot in the Test side last summer against India but was named in the South Africa Test series. That’s created some doubt about his Ashes prospects, potentially freeing him up for BBL. He also had a really lean 2021 County season with Sussex. But he’s made a Shield century and swashbuckling Marsh Cup double hundred since returning home, so you’d think he’s in the 25-man squad at the very least. Whether he makes the final Ashes squad will define if he’s available from Round 4 onwards.

Prognosis: Probably needs some more runs at Shield level, so monitor but expect him out early.

**Our annual Honeyball BBL digital magazine will be out this month, with interviews with experts including last year’s SuperCoach BBL winner, as well as fixture analysis, form guides, international info, player profiles and much much more. Register your interest for a copy via this link.

Mark Steketee $153k BWL

Steketee is another tantalizing early option given the Heat have the Round 1 double but the word is out on the fast bowler whose ownership had been around the 15% mark but has dropped to 7%. Steketee may be uncapped but he was part of the South Africa Test tour squad, so he’s an incumbent. His Test call-up chances were aided by Pattinson’s retirement. He missed last week’s Shield game with a heel issue so monitor that, but barring injury he’ll be in the 25-man squad in Brisbane and miss the Round 1 double. He’s probably battling Neser to be Ashes squad fast bowling back-up alongside Abbott.

Prognosis: Expect him out early at a minimum.

Tom Abell $125k BAT

Like Mahmood, Heat recruit Abell is in the English Lions squad for the Australia A game, so he’ll definitely miss their Round 1 double. That game will be played in Brisbane and end on December 12, so it’s plausible he could play in Round 2 when the Heat play the Renegades down on the Gold Coast on December 13. From a SuperCoach point of view, he’s far less attractive off a double. However, his potential Round 2 availability may have implications on the Heat line-up though, so consider that when stacking your Round 1 team with Brisbane players.

Prognosis: Will miss Round 1 double.

Tom Curran $201k BWL/BAT

Don’t worry, Curran won’t miss his Round 1 double. And he’s a white-ball specialist, so he won’t get called into the Ashes squad. But it is worth flagging for later in the season that England have a T20I series in the West Indies that starts on January 22. Curran, who is part of England’s T20 World Cup, may be part of that Windies squad. It’s not yet clear when they’d depart for Barbados, but international teams usually arrive a week in advance. The Sixers’ final two regular season games are January 15 and 18.

Prognosis: Don’t worry yet.

Also we’ve seen Marnus Labuschagne ($247k BAT/BWL) in far too many teams. He’s the most expensive player in SuperCoach BBL yet will miss most of the season with the Ashes. Do not waste your money!

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