Every BBL|11 club’s Round 1 line-ups predicted and explained
The question on everyone lips ahead of the opening BBL|11 games is what are the likely Round 1 line-ups. After several podcasts and eager monitoring of club comments, practice games and form lines, we’ve assembled our XIs.
There’s a few areas of dispute among the Strikers’ Round 1 line-up, namely around who will open with Phil Salt departed and Alex Carey and Travis Head unavailable. Matt Short has done it before and looms as an option, along with wicketkeeper-batsman Harry Nielsen.
The balance of the side is another question, given their lack of batting depth and they may opt for three bowlers and the two all-rounders (George Garton and Rashid Khan), with someone like Liam Scott or a potential replacement player such as Jake Lehmann or Jake Carder in the middle order.
Unavailable: A.Carey (Ashes), T.Head (Ashes), M.Renshaw (Aus A)
3 H.Nielsen (wk)
7 Rashid Khan
11 Fawad Ahmed
Chris Lynn is confirmed to open, likely alongside Max Bryant although he batted at five for Queensland last week. Duckett primarily bats first drop in the Vitality Blast, while Sam Heazlett was Player of the Match batting at four in last season’s BBL Finals. Tom Cooper has good form in SA Premier Cricket to win a spot in the middle order to start and offers some part-time spin.
Xavier Bartlett should lead the attack alongside Jack Wildermuth, making both more attractive SuperCoach options. James Bazley is a handy all-round type who has been getting games for Queensland, but the addition of experienced bowler Cameron Gannon could jeopardise his spot. Heat coach Wade Seccombe has indicated in-form Matt Kuhnemann will get a chance with Mitch Swepson out alongside Mujeeb Ur Rahman as the two spinners.
Unavailable: M.Swepson (Aus), M.Neser (Ashes), M.Labuschagne (Ashes), T.Abell (Eng Lions), M.Steketee (Aus A), C.Sully (inj), M.Willans (inj)
6 J.Peirson (wk)
11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
The Canes top order looks strong with D’Arcy Short and Matthew Wade’s dangerous opening partnership followed by Ben McDermott, fresh from a Marsh Cup century. Caleb Jewell’s recent form is good enough to warrant a top five spot with middle-order gun Harry Brook absent to start the season. Jewell could be elevated to open if Wade doesn’t overcome a side concern. Mac Wright would come into the batting line-up if Wade isn’t fit and could possibly open too.
English all-rounder Jordan Thompson should slot in at seven, with Joel Paris playing in midweek to show he’s fit again after a hamstring injury and likely to slot into Scott Boland’s role for the time being. Riley Meredith is battling the clock to prove his fitness with a hamstring worry, but Tom Rogers would likely be his replacement.
Doubtful: R.Meredith (inj), M.Wade (inj)
Unavailable: H.Brook (Eng Lions), S.Boland (Aus A)
2 M.Wade (wk)
11 Sandeep Lamichhane
The Gades batting line-up is decimated early due to rep honours and injuries, with the general expectation that Aaron Finch misses the first few games to recover from a long-term knee issue. Indian import Unmukt Chand opened the batting in Tuesday’s two practice games and did OK, without setting the game alight. His experience probably earns him first crack to open in Finch’s absence.
Shaun Marsh’s absence means there’s another spot open and Mackenzie Harvey scored a half-century in the warm-ups and was the pick of their young bats last season, so deserves a crack. The Gades lack of success, widespread personnel changes and absentees means their line-up is tough to pick and there’s been a lot of speculation about Jake Fraser-McGurk but it’s hard to see him batting any higher than four initially. Replacement player James Seymour has also shot into calculations with good form in the practice games.
Will Sutherland has been in good form in the warmups and arguably warrants selection for his batting prowess alone, so expect him at six after Mohammad Nabi.
One of the big questions is which of the Gades’ four imports won’t play – given BBL rules only three to play each game. In my opinion, on a needs basis, Reece Topley and Zahir Khan will miss out based on conditions. Chand is needed in the batting line-up given their batting depth issues. Youngster Zak Evans did well late last season but likely misses out, along with Josh Lalor.
Doubtful: A.Finch (inj)
Unavailable: M.Harris (Ashes), N.Maddinson (Aus), S.Marsh (inj)
3 S.Harper (wk)
6 Mohammad Nabi
The Stars have confirmed English import Joe Clarke will open and take the gloves, while Hilton Cartwright and Beau Webster are earmarked for middle-order roles. Glenn Maxwell will typically bat four, shielded from the power play, but ideally comes in late in the first 10 overs for maximum effect. Joe Burns is out early with injury.
The big question mark at the Stars is the make-up of their bowling line-up with injury concerns to Liam Hatcher (back), Nathan Coulter-Nile and Billy Stanlake, who has been replaced in the squad by Brody Couch. Afghan spinner Qais Ahmed will also arrive late from the Abu Dhabi T10 League, meaning unknown Pakistani tweaker Syed Faridoun could play early.
Spinning all-rounder Clint Hinchliffe has impressed in this week’s practice matches, although the Stars may opt to shore up their attack with another bowler such as Sam Elliott or Couch. The Stars do like to play two or three spinners.
Doubtful: B.Webster (inj)
Unavailable: B.Stanlake (inj), S.Gotch (inj), Qais Ahmed (T10 League), J.Burns (inj), N.Coulter-Nile (inj), L.Hatcher (inj)
2 J.Clarke (wk)
10 Syed Faridoun
Last season’s runners-up have early personnel issues with their batting line-up ravaged by Australia A call-ups, while Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone haven’t returned meaning they’ll have a new look to start. Cameron Bancroft and Nick Hobson opened in Wednesday’s practice game and will likely get the nod to start.
Colin Munro, Laurie Evans and Kurtis Patterson are yet to link up with the squad, so didn’t play that practice game, as they’re all still in Sydney and will have a fly-in fly-out arrangement for their opener in Perth. Aaron Hardie’s good form with the bat may bump Patterson out of the side. Ashton Agar’s sudden availability means they have five out-and-out bowling options. Captain Ashton Turner can bowl but wouldn’t take on four overs.
Tymal Mills isn’t available early but Perth seem OK for cover with the ball, with Matt Kelly likely to get early chances in his absence. Lance Morris has a side strain and new signing Cooper Connolly joins with a finger injury which will keep him out of contention for a fortnight although he’s very raw. David Moody could come in if Perth want additional bowling cover, but that feels unlikely given their batting issues.
Unavailable: M.Marsh (Aus A), J.Inglis (Aus A), L.Morris (inj), C.Connolly (inj), T.Mills (T10 League), J.Richardson (Ashes)
1 C.Bancroft (wk)
The reigning champions appear stronger on paper than last season with Tom Curran returning, Moises Henriques completely available and England T20 gun Chris Jordan added for five games early. Their batting line-up seems settled, although young all-rounder Hayden Kerr could be replaced by Jack Edwards to reinforce that.
The absence of Ben Dwarshuis and Jackson Bird early on opens up the opportunity for more overs for Dan Christian, but Sean Abbott’s last-minute shock availability may change that. Ben Manenti appears to be ahead of Lloyd Pope to support Steve O’Keefe as their second spinner. Chris Jordan, Abbott and/or Tom Curran should bowl at the death, meaning Christian won’t get those prime point-scoring overs.
Unavailable: B.Dwarshuis (inj), J.Bird (inj), N.Lyon (Ashes)
1 J.Philippe (wk)
Usman Khawaja’s call-up to the Test squad has left a hole at the top of the Thunder order, with Matthew Gilkes and new signing Sam Whiteman both in contention to open alongside Alex Hales. Whoever misses out could easily slot into first drop, with Callum Ferguson gone and heir apparent Ollie Davies out injured early with a fractured thumb. Sam Billings typically bats four. Gilkes or Whiteman could plausibly be overlooked by Jason Sangha but that feels unlikely.
Daniel Sams has a great role, batting six and bowling four overs, so he’s worth the price. Nathan McAndrew has been in good form lately too. With Saqib Mahmood and Brendan Doggett absent early, the only contentious point among the bowlers is if Chris Tremain or new signing Gurinder Sandhu gets a game. The latter’s form is strong enough to suggest he’ll get the nod.
Unavailable: B.Doggett (inj), O.Davies (inj), U.Khawaja (Ashes), S.Mahmood (Eng Lions)
4 S.Billings (wk)
* Denotes player not yet officially signed