The new season of the Australian Big Bash League is almost upon us. With bio-secure bubbles, new innovations, crazy rule changes and more overseas signings, the 2020/21 BBL promises to feature some of the summer’s most entertaining and thrilling cricket games. Ahead of the start of world cricket’s most innovative tournament, we preview how the Adelaide Strikers could fare this season.
After finishing fourth last season, the Adelaide Strikers will have their sights set on regaining the BBL title this season. They have made some exciting signings in the off-season, but their most important business will no doubt be the retention of star bowler Rashid Khan and Australia limited overs wicket-keeper Alex Carey.
Rashid Khan is one of the best spinners in the shortest format of the game, as he has proven time and time again. The leggie from Afghanistan will be key to Adelaide’s chances of making the play-offs, and his potential absence in the business end of the season (due to commitments for his country) will certainly hurt their bowling strength. Although the addition of T20 specialist Danny Briggs should help make up for Rashid’s potential absence. Briggs is the leading wicket-taker in the history of the T20 Blast in England, and his left-arm spin will no doubt be handy in Adelaide. Phil Salt, an aggressive batsman from Sussex, is Adelaide’s third overseas player. The 24 year old is a fearless top-order batsman with a strike rate of 157.36 in the shortest format of the game. He made four half-centuries for the Strikers last season and scored at an impressive blistering strike rate of 164.09, making the decision to re-sign him a very easy one for the Jason Gillespie led team.
Adelaide also moved to sign Alex Carey to a four year deal, and his performances with the bat will be crucial to their hopes of making the play-offs. Carey will also be tasked with a leadership role, with Travis Head likely to be away with the Australia team for their Test series against India for the majority of the tournament.
Peter Siddle and Wes Agar will lead Adelaide’s pace bowling attack. The younger Agar brother enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last season, as he claimed 17 wickets for the Strikers. While Peter Siddle is showing no signs of slowing down, even at the age of 36. While the highly rated Liam Scott and Spencer Johnson will be the ones to watch this season as they look to make an impact in the competition.
The biggest strength of this Adelaide squad is undoubtedly their bowling attack. With spin twins Rashid Khan and Danny Briggs leading the way, and Wes Agar and Peter Siddle providing high quality pace options, the Strikers will surely look to restrict teams to small totals. Michael Neser’s all-round skills will be missed, but they have more than enough strength in their bowling attack to make do without him, at least until Rashid Khan has to go on international duty. With Adelaide, you always know that they will give their 110%, be it with the bat or in the field. They may not have the biggest of names, but their team spirit and selflessness could give them the edge in the BBL.
With Travis Head likely to miss the majority of the tournament, Adelaide’s batting looks feeble. All pressure will be on Alex Carey and Jon Wells, their two best batsmen from last season. Consistent contributions will also be needed from Jake Weatherald and Matt Renshaw if the Strikers are to make a deep run in the tournament. Phil Salt showed his potential last season, and if he can find the explosive touch this year as well, the Strikers will fancy their chances of making the play-offs.
Players to Watch
Jon Wells drew comparisons with Michael Bevan for his performances during the 2019/20 BBL. The middle-order batsman scored 478 runs last season, and his ability to finish the innings made him a very valuable asset for the Adelaide Strikers. His performances even prompted calls for him to be selected in the Australia T20 squad. While that didn’t materialise, this season of the BBL could present another opportunity for him to stake a claim.
The highly rated all-rounder has been signed by the Adelaide Strikers on the back of impressive performances in the Sheffield Shield this season. Scott is a sweet striker of the ball, and a very capable bowler with a knack for wickets. Last month, Australia’s national talent manager Graham Manou compared the 19 year old to Shane Watson, one of the country’s most prolific all-rounders. And if Scott can make even half the impact Watson made over the years, he can be a very valuable addition to the Strikers’ squad squad.
Wes Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Harry Conway, Travis Head (c), Spencer Johnson, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Matt Renshaw, Liam Scott, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall, Danny Briggs (England), Phil Salt (England), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Ideal Lineup for the Season
Travis Head (C)
Alex Carey (WK)
Liam Scott/Michael Neser
December 13: Strikers vs Hurricanes
December 15: Hurricanes vs Strikers
December 20: Sixers vs Strikers
December 23: Heat vs Strikers
December 28: Scorchers vs Strikers
December 31: Strikers vs Scorchers
January 03: Strikers vs Sixers
January 05: Renegades vs Strikers
January 08: Strikers vs Renegades
January 11: Strikers vs Stars
January 15: Stars vs Strikers
January 21: Strikers vs Heat
January 24: Thunder vs Strikers
January 25: Strikers vs Thunder