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 Melbourne Renegades could fare this season.
The Melbourne Renegades went from being defending BBL champions to finishing rock bottom last season, and now they will be aiming to rebound from that horror campaign. They have made several changes to the squad that only won three games last season, the Aaron Finch-led side will be aiming to bounce back in the tenth edition of the BBL.
As far as the Melbourne Renegades squad is concerned, the main star attractions are no doubt Australia’s limited overs captain Aaron Finch and veteran batsman Shaun Marsh. Luckily for the Gades, Finch is in excellent form and will be available for the entire tournament after wrapping up the T20I series against India. Marsh, too, has enjoyed an excellent start to the summer in the Sheffield Shield, showing at 37, that age is just a number. Opening with Finch will likely be Sam Harper, the highly rated wicket keeper batsman who is capable of hitting the ball as hard as anyone in the team. Marcus Harris will also fit into the top order, but will miss the first couple of games as he has been called up for Australia A duty.
The Renegades have also bolstered their batting line-up with the arrival of South Africa batsman Rilee Rossouw, who will be available for the entire tournament. Rossouw will be joined by fellow South African Imran Tahir in the side, with the 41 year old spinner showing no signs of slowing down. On the other end of the age spectrum is left-arm leg-spinner Noor Ahmad, who first caught the eye at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup for Afghanistan. While spin bowling all-rounder Mohammad Nabi is back for his fourth season with the Renegades, and will be a useful addition thanks to his versatility with both bat and ball. Bowling all-rounder Imad Wasim will also join the Renegades for the second half of the season.
The highly rated Will Sutherland will be the Renegades’ other main all-round option. He has shown his quality with the ball for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield this season, and will have the opportunity to show his quality for Australia A against India, before he joins the Renegades squad. Another talented youngster, Mackenzie Harvey, could also be set for a big season. The Australia U-19s captain has shown glimpses of his quality over the last two seasons, and he could be set for a bigger role in the team this time around.
Leading the bowling attack for the Renegades will be Kane Richardson, who is one of the most best T20 bowlers in the country. Richardson has become a regular for Australia over the last 18 months, and his ability at the death will be crucial to the Renegades’ hopes. James Pattinson will also be back in Red this season, but fans will have to wait to see him in action, as he is part of the Australia squad for the Test series against India.
The Melbourne Renegades have a strong batting line-up, led by Aaron Finch, who is one of the best batsmen in the shortest format of the game. If Shaun Marsh, Rilee Rossouw and Sam Harper can find their form, the Michael Klinger-coached team will score a lot of runs this season. The Renegades also have 18 year old highly rated batsman Jake Fraser-McGurk to provide competition to the senior pros. Klinger could be in for a few selection headaches with so many options and so much versatility in the team.
Other than Kane Richardson, the Renegades do not have enough quality pace bowlers in their ranks, especially with James Pattinson expected to miss a large chunk of the tournament. Zak Evans and Mitchell Perry are both very talented youngsters, but do not have a lot of experience. The presence of Imran Tahir, Mohammad Nabi, Cameron Boyce, Beau Webster and Jon Holland means that the Renegades are well stacked in the spin-bowling department.
Sam Harper was the Renegades’ top scorer two years ago when they won the BBL title. He had a decent tournament last season as well, and his aim for this season will be to stand-out for his side and ensure that the Australia selectors take notice of his performances. Harper has a very bright future ahead of him, and this edition of the BBL could be the start of his rise to the top.
Sutherland is considered to be one of Australia’s most promising young players at the moment. The tall all-rounder has enjoyed an impressive start to the season in the Sheffield Shield, with his performances with the ball earning him an Australia A call-up. His bowling could be a very useful weapon for the Renegades, who will be short of frontline pacers with James Pattinson on Test duty.
Aaron Finch (c), Noor Ahmad (Afghanistan), Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), James Pattinson, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Will Sutherland, Imran Tahir (South Africa), Imad Wasim (Pakistan), Beau Webster
Ideal Lineup for the Season
Mohammad Nabi/Imad Wasim
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