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 Perth Scorchers could fare this season.
Three-time BBL champions Perth Scorchers could only manage a sixth place finish last season. But with several world-class T20 specialists in their ranks, they will fancy their chances of adding to their glittering trophy cabinet this time around.
After narrowly missing out on the play-offs last season, the Scorchers moved quickly to make two blockbuster signings to bolster their batting line-up. Head coach Adam Voges brought in Jason Roy and Colin Munro, two of the world’s best batsmen in the shortest format of the game. They will join Liam Livingstone, who set the BBL alight last season by scoring 425 runs at a strike rate of 142.62. With Roy and Livingstone set to miss the first few games of the competition, another destructive batsman, Joe Clarke has joined as temporary replacement. With three T20I specialists in their top order, the Scorchers certainly won’t miss Shaun Marsh as much as they did last season.
If that’s not enough, the Scorchers’ batting order also features in-form wicketkeeper batsman Josh Inglis, as well as Cameron Bancroft and Kurtis Patterson. They will once again be led by Mitchell Marsh, although there are question marks about his fitness after he suffered a serious ankle injury in the IPL. Ashton Turner, Ashton Agar and Aaron Hardie will play an important role with their all-round ability. But they will be without the highly rated Cameron Green for the majority of the tournament, after the batting all-rounder was called up by Australia for the Test series against India.
The Scorchers also have an exceptionally talented bowling attack, led by Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff. The duo made a huge splash for Australia prior to the 2019 World Cup, but have had to endure a difficult period due to injuries since then. Cameron Gannon’s searing pace will also be on show in the BBL this season. The 31 year old returns to the BBL after a two year absence on the back of his 38 wickets in the Sheffield Shield last season. Andrew Tye and Matthew Kelly are also proven T20 bowlers and there will no doubt be a healthy competition for places.
The Perth Scorchers have assembled fairly balanced squad with ample depth in all departments to deal with the rigours of the long tournament and bubble life. They are no doubt one of the favourites to win the tournament going into the competition and will certainly be the team to beat. They have a powerful batting line-up and an exciting pace attack which could take them deep into the tournament.
A number of the Scorchers’ key players go into the tournament having just recovered from injuries. It will take them some time to get back into match rhythm, and Adam Voges will no doubt have concerns about the fitness of some of his players going into the tournament. If the Scorchers can stay fit and find their form, they could be unstoppable this season.
When Jhye Richardson broke into the Australia team in 2017, people expected him to be the next great talented quick to come out of the country. But Richardson hurt his shoulder just before the 2019 World Cup, and he has been plagued by a horror run of injuries over the last 18 months. Now he is slowly returning to his top pace and form heading into the BBL, where he will be aiming to make a similar impact to the one which caught the idea of the Australian selectors in the first place.
The Perth Scorchers have one of the most talented batting line-ups in the BBL, but the importance of Josh Inglis cannot be understated. The wicket-keeper batsman will have a key role to play as he looks to build on last season’s campaign, where he was one of the Scorchers’ best players. Inglis goes into the tournament in excellent form, having scored two hundreds for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield. And another impactful campaign in the BBL this season will make him very hard for the Australian selectors to ignore.
Mitchell Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Joe Clarke (England), Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Liam Livingstone (England), Colin Munro (New Zealand), Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Jason Roy (England), Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman
Ideal Lineup for the Season
Ashton Turner/Aaron Hardie
Matthew Kelly/Aaron Tye
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December 22: Thunder vs Scorchers
December 28: Scorchers vs Strikers
December 31: Strikers vs Scorchers
January 03: Scorchers vs Renegades
January 06: Scorchers vs Sixers
January 09: Scorchers vs Thunder
January 12: Scorchers vs Hurricanes
January 16: Sixers vs Scorchers
January 19: Scorchers vs Heat
January 22: Hurricanes vs Scorchers
January 23: Stars vs Scorchers
January 26: Heat vs Scorchers