The Big Bash League has been home to some of the world’s top cricketing talent over its first 10 years with many using the competition as a launchpad for their own cricketing careers.
Australia rose to the top of the Twenty20 International rankings in May 2020 for the first time. Finally doing justice to the Big Bash League.
A new domestic league for cricketing globetrotters and a place to develop young talent in Australian Cricket. The high standard that was set of the BBL finally translated into success in the international Twenty20 arena.
Perhaps prior, Australia didn’t care for the format enough in international cricket. So often the Aussies played one-off matches, sticky taped onto the end of an ODI series. Normally without specialist squads as mass players were being rested for their next big assignment.
It didn’t allow the side to build continuity or a proper game style in the format that was taking the sport by storm.
From 2005-2010 Australia averaged less than four T20 internationals a year, outside of T20 World Cups.
In the next five years, that number rose to just under six and has shot up to almost ten per year since 2016.
As a result of more games, Australia has performed better in the format in recent years, rising to the top of the T20I rankings last year and currently sitting second.
Thus, with Australia playing consistent matches and having the successful BBL to select players from, positive results were expected and eventuated.
Former player Evan Gulbis summed up the importance of high-quality domestic competition when speaking to The Inner Sanctum last month:
“If the strength of the competition is high, the players playing in it are going to get better,” he said.
That’s because local players mix with well-credentialed internationals giving them exposure to high-quality cricket and therefore the best chance to forge international careers.
In the past decade there’ been a smorgasbord of players, both Australian and International, who have used the BBL as a launchpad to greater things.
The Inner Sanctum has put together their best XI of the players who have used the BBL to launch their cricketing careers to the world stage.
Josh Philippe: Played a solitary match in BBL| 07 and since then, became a staple the following season at the top of the order for The Sydney Sixers. It’s been a steep rise for the hard-hitting Philippe, taking BBL| 08 by storm, averaging 30 at a strike rate of 158.
Has impressively played fluently and destructively throughout his BBL career despite having various opening partners. Phillipe rarely misses out, capitalizing on powerplay overs, and continues improving his game with the ability to play longer innings, with nine 50s and six player-of-the-match awards from his 42 matches so far. Being a handy wicketkeeper makes him a versatile and scary prospect and provides greater flexibility for whichever team he is selected in.
Phillipe earned his first IPL contract in 2020, Debuting for Royal Challengers Bangalore, and, at 23-years-old, seems destined for a long white-ball international career, perhaps starting on the tour of New Zealand in February.
D’Arcy Short: Since BBL| 06, Short has forged a reputation as one of the most destructive openers in the history of the competition. Averaging 40 at a strike rate of 140.
The left-handed opener for Hobart has twice been the BBL’s leading run scorer, which, along with his handy left-arm chinamans, saw him breakthrough for his T20I and ODI debut in 2018. While he has struggled to maintain that form into international cricket, the BBL breathed life back into his cricketing career after being sparsely picked for a talent-laden Western Australia in the years preceding BBL|06.
Short has also had stints in the IPL, playing seven matches for Rajasthan in the 2018 IPL and Durham in the T20 Blast. taking his talents around the globe.
Marcus Stoinis: Was awarded player of the tournament in BBL| 09 following his superb season at the top of the order and has been a consistent contributor with the Melbourne Stars ever since he joined the franchise.
Thanks in large part to consistent BBL form he has played 45 ODIs and 23 T20Is since debuting for Australia in 2015. Stoinis has an impressive IPL career too, with 46 matches at an average of 28 and a strike rate of 137 to go with his 28 wickets.
His medium-pacers increase his versatility beyond being a careful innings crafter and explosive hitter at the top of the order.
Ben Dunk; While his cross to the Stars was unsuccessful and saw him part ways with them early, it isn’t a true reflection of his exploits.
Dunk, one of the BBL’s biggest hitters in his prime, saw him get picked for Australia and play 5 T20s between 2014-2017.
Striking at a rate over 135 including nine fifties, Dunk has forged his reputation as a powerhouse T20 globetrotter, playing IPL games for the Mumbai Indians and making two 90s in the 2020 PSL for the Lahore Qalanders, having previously played for the Karachi Kings. Dunk has also enjoyed various stints in the CPL too,
Jono Wells; Without the BBL, Jono Wells would’ve finished his decade long first-class career in 2018 with an average of 23.
But his time with the Hobart Hurricanes, then the Adelaide Strikers gave him the tag as a reliable middle-order batsman and a renowned T20 finisher.
Such an anchor and vital contributor he was he able to make himself that there was a smattering of calls to include him in national squads at a time Australia desperately lacked a late-order hitter.
Capable of resurrecting a collapse as much as quickfire late cameos, the BBL has given Australians a much truer indication of Wells’ natural ability as a cricketer.
Daniel Sams; After being jettisoned at the last minute by franchise Canterbury in New Zealand for Ben Stokes, Sams quickly was back on his feet making his debut in the Big Bash League. making an instant impact for the Sydney Sixers, returning figures of 4-14. The best by a debutant in the competition’s history.
Since then, the left-arm death bowling specialist has become much more versatile developing into a much sought-after commodity at both franchise and International levels.
Following consecutive impressive seasons, Sams made his International Debut in the recent series against India in late 2020 where he opened the bowling effectively.
2020 also saw him make his IPL debut, drafted into the Dehli Capitals squad as a replacement player making contributions on their run to the final.
His raw power hitting at stages through BBL| 10 was on show, adding handy late runs and winning games for his side with the ability to effortlessly clear the rope.
Chris Green; Outside of a handful of domestic 50-over matches, Green had not played top-level cricket before his debut with the Sydney Thunder in 2015.
But the lime green was willing to take a punt on the off-spinner and it has certainly paid off.
With 59 matches, 45 wickets, and a miserly economy rate of 7.36 Green has become one of the faces of the Sydney Thunder franchise. Singing a 6-year contract with the club back in 2019. The longest contract in competition history.
While that dream of representing his country currently remains unrealized, he continues to build his experience and ply his trade around the world in both the IPL and CPL as well as playing in the new Abu Dhabi T10 competition in recent seasons.
Jofra Archer: When you force rule changes regarding eligibility within your country’s cricket board, you know you’re a pretty special talent.
The express paceman, now a key pillar of England’s bowling attack in every format of the game was fast-tracked to international cricket and was crucial in their ODI World Cup triumph in 2019 and debut home Summer.
The fireband quickly made his mark on the world stage following his two-season stint with the Hobart Hurricanes. A stint that announced himself to the world.
In his first top-level cricket outside his adopted country, Archer took a wicket every 18 balls, with dots making up 44% of his other deliveries in an impressive display.
That grabbed the attention of Australians especially and he’s since performed marvellously against them; an average of 20 and an economy rate of 2.86 in test cricket to go with 10 wickets in five ODIs.
Andrew Tye: The West Australian rose to prominence with his ever-increasing repertoire of slower and variation balls which has made him a major weapon at the death overs for the Perth Scorchers.
Since his debut in January 2014 for the Sydney Thunder, he has played cricket in England, been listed with four IPL franchises, and played 35 International matches for Australia. Including at the 2016 T20I World Cup.
The 34-year-old mixed more on-pace deliveries with his deceptive variations in BBL| 10 and averages more than a wicket game.
He remains a globetrotting T20 weapon because of his variations and has recently returned to Australia’s limited-overs squads in a bid to secure a place at the T20 World Cup later in the year given his experience in the host country India.
Haris Rauf: It’s one of the best stories to emerge since the League’s inception. plucked last minute from Grade Cricket in Tasmania to play for the Melbourne Stars as an injury replacement player for Dale Steyn and instantly made an impression with his searing pace and accuracy.
After a month of express pace and energy for the Melbourne Stars as the leading wicket-taker in BBL| 09, Rauf was called up to play for Pakistan.
with minimal top-level cricket under his belt before the tournament, last season has moved on to play two ODIs and 11 T20Is for his country.
His inclusion in the Test squad for Pakistan’s current series against South Africa cut short his stay with Melbourne to just three games in BBL| 10.
Adam Zampa: Since debuting for the Sydney Thunder in 2012, Zampa has developed his game and become one of the best wrist spinners in the world.
168 T20s across the BBL, CPL, and IPL has equipped him with the experience to become currently the fourth-ranked T20I bowler in the world.
Since joining the Melbourne Stars, Zampa has become ever more consistent at bowling to his fields and deceiving batters with his dangerous wrong’un which has seen him trusted to bowl with fielding restrictions frequently in BBL| 10.
His incredible consistency sees him rarely leak big runs at an economy rate of just 6.60 in t20Is, averaging a wicket game.
Has taken more wickets than any spinner in the BBL’s history, a launchpad he’s used perfectly to play 97 white ball internationals and establish himself as a staple in Australia’s limited-overs sides.
Sean Abbott (12th): Sitting second on the BBL’s all-time leading wicket-takers tally, Abbot has been sporadically selected for Australia and was included in the national squads this summer as a bowling all-rounder.
Used mainly at the death for the Sixers with his variation of changeups and slower balls. While surely frustrating that his nine white-ball internationals have come across a six-year stretch, his ability to remain a player of national interest for that long exemplifies his consistency for his state and franchise.