The Strikers had a strong team but were somewhat underwhelming in terms of results. The Scorchers, meanwhile, made the BBL|01 and took it right up to eventual champions the Sydney Sixers.
Key players include:
Brad Hogg: He may be 41, but the left arm wrist-spinner is still playing like he is in his early 20’s. Made a comeback to the game in BBL|01 and instantly found his feet, dismissing 12 batsmen, the most wickets for the BBL for any spinner. Was selected for Australia’s recent Twenty20 World Cup squad on the back of his performance. Character on the field, and has a signature feature-his tongue is usually sticking out while bowling. Will be key for the Scorchers in experience, bowling ability and fielding.
Nathan Coulter-Nile: impressive BBL|01 with the Scorchers put Coulter-Nile on the Australian selectors radar. While there has been very limited opportunities for him as yet, the 25 year old is making himself known. Ten wickets in BBL|01, as well as continual improvement in the Western Australia state team has given Coulter-Nile a very good case to present to Cricket Australia for possible selection. Action looks simple, gets some reasonable pace, and isn’t too shabby with the bat.
Herschelle Gibbs: Capable of belting the cover off the ball, Gibbs was the Scorchers leading run scorer in BBL|01. With a batting line-up including Adam Voges, Simon Katich and Shaun Marsh, Gibbs has plenty of support, but has to do work himself. One of the few destructive batsmen who can craft an innings with timing and patience. On a bouncy WACA deck Gibbs will be in his element. I’m expecting a few white balls to be sailing into the top tiers of stands.
Adelaide will really need to sink their boot into the tournament early to get on top. The hamstring injury to McDonald will cruel the Strikers chances somewhat. However, there is a very good squad on hand; they simply need to find form.
Kieron Pollard: He’s a big hitting West Indian and decent bowler. Pollard is going to be a core part of the Strikers campaign. Can create entertainment with his incredible strike power and all-rounder ability. Will need to make sure he is able to support any batsman when he comes in if they are looking to score big. When Pollard is in form, he is unstoppable.
Saeed Ajmal: I haven’t seen much of the Pakistan spinner, but from what I’ve heard Ajmal has the talent. On a pitch that can give in to spin, Ajmal’s off spinners will be key in stemming the run flow. 122 wickets since entering test cricket at the age of 30 (taken in just 23 matches) suggests the Pakistani player has the goods.
Callum Ferguson: Will play a Phil Hughes type role in that he (Ferguson) needs to show leadership and score well. Form of late has lacked strength and aggression. If Ferguson “moulds” himself in the Hughes style, and is able to build confidence during his tenure with the Strikers, his push for national selection will not only intensify, but his domestic career will really get back on track. On that note, Phil Hughes, on the back of his recent first-class form, would be hoping to transfer that across to the shortest format.
Scorchers: Top 4