Hobart’s cricketing “purple power” is back for BBL|02 and primed to make another run for the finals. The Hurricanes welcome back a strong team from BBL|01, including a couple of new signings, and some players who have made the move from other teams.
The Hurricanes first game is against the Brisbane Heat on December 9. Let’s take a look at some key players and stats for the upcoming season:
Ricky Ponting: “Punter” was limited to just one game in the inaugural Big Bash League season due to international commitments. The veteran 37 year old will be back once again to add strength and experience to a strong batting line-up. Never backs down from a pull or hook shot, and is a sublime timer of the ball. Reinvigorated form after last summer but must keep going to ensure national spot.
Travis Birt: Birt smashed Clint McKay last season for three massive sixes in one over as he blasted his way to 50 off 22 balls against the Melbourne Stars. The 178cm hulk can provide entertainment at the drop of a hat. Plenty of experience to draw on, and will be a big part of helping the purple army win the trophy.
Doug Bollinger: Out of favour with the national selectors, “Doug the Rug” is starting to look menacing in his return to form. Left arm swingers have left plenty of batsmen in a fix. Burst onto the Australian scene back in 2008-2009 and has also impressed with Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings.
Scott Styris: The Australian born Kiwi has both power and skill mixed incredibly well. Has smashed two domestic Twenty20 centuries, so is no slouch. Bowls some great medium pace. Is 37, but will add some much needed spark to the Hurricanes middle order.
Jason Krezja: Attacking offspinner who has started to find his feet after his one test in 2008. Took 11 wickets in BBL|01, and his control of flight will be core to his bowling. Will be looking to impress in home state.
Key Games (Home and Away)
Melbourne Stars: In their BBL|01 clash, both teams scored a combined total of almost 400 runs. English import Luke Wright smashed a century, while Rob Quiney and Travis Birt got right into the action as well. The game, which was a home match for the Hurricanes last season, turns into an advantage for the Stars, playing at the MCG. The Stars have strengthened their squad with the inclusions of former Melbourne Renegades Brad Hodge and Glenn Maxwell, as well as Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga. The boys in purple, however, are in with a massive chance, sporting a bowling attack of Bollinger, Xavier Doherty, Ben Laughlin and Krezja, the latter two who are finding form.
Brisbane Heat: A new-look Brisbane squad will take on the Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena in the purple army’s biggest home game. The Heat will be without Dale Steyn for the return clash, but Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Ben Cutting would be itching to have a go at Hobart. The Hurricanes, however, have a much bigger arsenal of clever bowling, while the Heat has more in the pace stocks. Hurricanes can win if a decent score is posted, or can limit Brisbane with good bowling.
Semi-finalists in BBL|01, there is no doubting the quality of the Hurricanes squad. We will just have to wait until December 9 to see the boys in action.
Follow me on Twitter: @Davis_Harr