BBL News This Week: Renegades confirm two imports, Stars unveil Qais, Mujeeb injury cloud
With a month to go until BBL|11 begins the international signings are starting to roll in, with the Melbourne Renegades announcing two this week and the Stars about to unveil another.
The Melbourne Renegades announced two overseas signings this week, unveiling Indian top-order batsman Unmukt Chand ($105k BAT).
He’s a former India Under-19 skipper who has been playing in the US Minor League Cricket in recent times having stepped away from Indian cricket earlier this year. He last played IPL in 2015 with the Mumbai Indians, having also played for the Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils.
Renegades coach David Saker said: “He brings a wealth of cricket experience. To have a player joining our team who has represented three IPL teams and led his country at ‘A’ and Under 19 level is fantastic.
“As a batter, Unmukt is dynamic and can change games quickly. He has spent much of his career at the top of the order, but we believe he has the flexibility to fill a variety of roles as we need.”
The Renegades also unveiled English left-arm fast bowler Reece Topley ($125k BWL) who looks set to add to their options during the powerplay and death overs.
He didn’t play in the 2021 Vitality Blast due to a side strain but was this week called into England’s T20 World Cup squad to replace the injured Tymal Mills. Topley took four wickets from eight games playing for the Invincibles in The Hundred.
Saker said: “He is an experienced bowler who offers the ability to swing the ball up front in the powerplay and to bowl in pressure situations at the death.
“We believe Reece adds a real point of difference as a tall left-arm fast bowler that will complement our pace attack, working alongside the likes of Kane Richardson and James Pattinson.”
The Melbourne Stars revealed ex-Hurricanes Afghan spinner Qais Ahmad (price TBC, BWL) as their second import.
Stars coach Dave Hussey said: “Pretty pleased to be able to get Qais into the squad for the summer and have another quality leg-spinning option in our match ups. It’s a great opportunity for Qais and Adam Zampa to work together.
“It’ll be particularly important towards the back end of the tournament when Adam Zampa may be away in Australia’s ODI and T20 International squads and it’ll be a good left and right arm spin combination having Qais and Clint Hinchliffe available.”
The Brisbane Heat confirmed all-rounder Jack Wildermuth ($155k BAT/BWL) will return in BBL|11 as expected. Heat coach Wade Seccombe said: “We like that he can win games with bat or ball, or both, which is what you are looking for in an allrounder.”
Mujeeb Ur Rahman ($208k BWL) has missed Afghanistan’s past two T20 World Cup games with an unspecified injury, which is a worry ahead of the BBL which starts in a month’s time.
Injury-cursed Hurricanes recruit Joel Paris ($62k BWL) has been finding form, with Player of the Match display in the Sheffield Shield last week.
Paris said: “(The body’s) feeling great. I’ve always said I feel I’m playing my best cricket when I can string some games together & gain some momentum. We’ve done some different things to get me through this 1st part of the season.”
Rashid Khan ($198k BWL) went without a wicket against India at the T20 World Cup on Wednesday, while Adam Zampa ($169k BWL) has been the pick of the Aussies.
It’s been a quiet week domestically, although Strikers bat Matt Renshaw ($67k BAT/BWL) showed a bit of his potential value with a quickfire 76 from 62 balls for Queensland against Tasmania on Monday, following up from a Shield century last week.