On December 19th 2018 the 8th installment of the KFC Big Bash League (BBL) will kick off with the Brisbane Heat hosting the reigning champions the Adelaide Strikers. This season will be the longest so far with 59 matches to be played (including finals) with each team playing 14 games (7 home and 7 away).
The Big Bash League squads for the 2018-19 season are yet to be confirmed, although several teams have at least announced partial squads. They are due to be confirmed on December 8.
BBL squads consist of 18 players, two of which can be overseas-based players. While each club has to meet the December 8 deadline, they can call up extra players throughout the season in the event of injuries or the loss of squad members for other reasons, such as international selection.
The 8 Big Bash teams that contest the competition are the Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
This season some of the squads have gotten stronger with some quality international signings
Adelaide Strikers $5.50 @ Neds
Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Michael Cormack, David Grant, Colin Ingram (South Africa), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Michael Neser, Liam O’Connor, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jonathan Wells and Nick Winter.
Coach: Jason Gillespie
The reigning Big Bash champions have named another strong line-up for BBL08, with Travis Head, Jake Lehmann and Billy Stanlake set to star for the South Australians. Peter Siddle will be a potentially handy option with the ball, provided he’s not tied up with Australian duty.
Promising batsman Matt Short scored 62 from 48 balls as an opener in his last Big Bash match, but was squeezed out for the finals. With Carey, Head and Weatherald in contention for national duties, the 22-year-old may be called on to play a lot more than his three matches from last year, where he produced a handy average of 35.33.
Brisbane Heat $6.50 @ Neds
Brendon McCullum (c) (New Zealand), Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Brendan Doggett, Sam Heazlett, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Chris Lynn, James Pattinson, Jimmy Peirson, Jack Prestwidge, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan), Matt Renshaw, Alex Ross, Mark Steketee and Mitchell Swepson.
Coach: Daniel Vettori
Brendon McCullum will go around once more as the Brisbane Heat captain, leading a squad that looks absolutely stacked in the batting order. Big hitter Chris Lynn is always a threat in the game’s shorter formats, while Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw are top shelf batsmen too.
Max Bryant, 19, has only played one match for the Brisbane Heat after winning one of their last contracts in 2017/18. Started this season with a bang by scoring the fastest ever half century by a Queenslander in One Day Domestic Cricket, notching 71 off 32 balls in the JLT Cup. Look out for him to be called upon during the Heat’s BBL08 season.
Hobart Hurricanes $7.50 @ Neds
George Bailey (c), Jofra Archer (England), Johan Botha, Jake Doran, James Faulkner, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko, Tymal Mills (England), David Moody, Tim Paine, Tom Rogers, Clive Rose, D’Arcy Short, Aaron Summers and Matthew Wade.
Coach: Adam Griffith
Last year’s runners-up will look to go one better in 2018-19, with skipper George Bailey taking charge of a talent-laden side. D’Arcy Short, Ben McDermott, James Faulkner and Matthew Wade headline the rest of the team, while English import Jofra Archer is sure to make for interesting viewing.
Caleb Jewel will make his Big Bash debut in 2018/19. The 21-year-old is a known left-hand batsman, previously playing for Tasmania under 23s. Jewel is ready to go this season, especially knowing the chances of some of his teammates getting called up to higher duties.
Melbourne Renegades $7.50 @ Neds
Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Tom Cooper, Zak Evans, Harry Gurney (England)*, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Tim Ludeman, Joe Mennie, Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Kane Richardson, Usman Khan Shinwari (Pakistan)*, Will Sutherland, Chris Tremain, Beau Webster, Cameron White and Jack Wildermuth.
Coach: Andrew McDonald
* – Gurney will replace Shinwari midway through the season.
Pundits aren’t too hot on the BBL’s perennial strugglers, especially given a number of their biggest names in Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris and Chris Tremain could all be called up for Test duty for most of the 2018 season.
Will Sutherland played one game during BBL07 after being moved up into the senior side. He is a talented all-rounder, but more acknowledged for his bowling, especially with the new ball. He took 1/32 in his first Big Bash game during the 2017/18 season. Sutherland started the JLT Cup on fire this year with a five-wicket haul before suffering a back injury. He is due back in January, meaning he should play most of the Big Bash.
Melbourne Stars $7.50 @ Neds
Michael Beer, Jackson Bird, Scott Boland, Liam Bowe, Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Jackson Coleman, Travis Dean, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal), Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jonathan Merlo, Matt Parkinson (England)*, Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Worrall and Adam Zampa.
Coach: Stephen Fleming
* – Parkinson will replace Lamichhane midway through the season.
The Stars will be hell-bent on rebounding from last year’s last-place finish, and they’ve got a couple of big names ready to help them recover. Damaging all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is an extremely handy addition to the side and, between he and Glenn Maxwell, is sure to create plenty of fireworks.
Sebastian Gotch made his Big Bash debut last season, with the promising keeper-batsman making 72 runs in five games.
Perth Scorchers $5 @ Neds
Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft*, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Michael Klinger, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joel Paris, Usman Qadir (Pakistan), Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman and David Willey (England).
Coach: Adam Voges
* – Bancroft will only be available from late December when his suspension concludes.
Perth are perennial contenders and, once again, they’re fielding a very competitive squad. Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Michael Klinger and Andrew Tye have all proved themselves as genuine BBL superstars, while the return of Cameron Bancroft from suspension will boost what is already a strong side even further.
Cameron Green is a big, strapping allrounder standing 6-foot-7-inches. Honing his skills on the bouncy WACA deck, he can bowl in excess of 140km/h and bat in the top six — an ominous combo in anyone’s book. Green took 5/24 on first class debut at just 17.
Sydney Sixers $9 @ Neds
Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Juston Avendano, Tom Curran (England), Joe Denly (England), Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Dan Fallins, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk and Henry Thornton.
Coach: Greg Shipperd
Moises Henriques returns to captain the Sydney Sixers for another year, with familiar faces Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Stephen O’Keefe and Jordan Silk all set to take to the SCG for another year.
Everyone will be waiting for young spin sensation Lloyd Pope to make his debut who was a standout for the Australian U19 World Cup and taking 8/35 in the Quarter Final.
Sydney Thunder $9 @ Neds
Shane Watson (c), Fawad Ahmed, Jos Buttler (England) Pat Cummins, Anton Devcich (New Zealand) Callum Ferguson, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher, Chris Jordan (England), Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Nathan McAndrew, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Sam Rainbird, Joe Root (England), Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu and Jason Sangha.
Coach: Shane Bond
There are a number of big names in the Thunder lineup this season, with Shane Watson and Joe Root set to become the unlikeliest of teammates.
Daniel Sams is coming off a strong first BBL season with the Sixers, taking seven wickets in six games, including an impressive best of 4/14. However, Sams didn’t get much action with the bat, only facing three balls for the tournament. Expect this to change in 2018/19, with Sams producing a number of big-hitting displays in the JLT Cup for NSW and set to perform a Ben Cutting-like role for the Thunder in the final 10 overs.
Predictions for this year are very hard but by looking at the teams and considering Test matches the ladder should look like this:
Perth Scorchers (winner)
Hobart Hurricanes (RU)