Season 11 of the BBL starts today (Photo: Mark Kolbe)

The KFC BBL kicks off for another season this summer for the 11th time. The Inner Sanctum has your ultimate guide for every team this season here.

BBL|11 is set to be another brilliant showcase of Australia’s T20 talent and the biggest and best tournament yet and the team at The Inner Sanctum has delivered the ultimate preview for the upcoming tournament.

Can the Sydney Sixers become the first team in BBL history to hoist the trophy in three consecutive years, or will the Stars finally break through for that elusive title?

BBL|11 Preview – Adelaide Strikers

Squad: Wes Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, George Garton (England), Ryan Gibson, Travis Head, Spencer Johnson, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Matthew Renshaw, Liam Scott, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Jake Weatherald, Jonathan Wells, Daniel Worrall 

Big Inclusion: The Strikers have added some extra firepower coming into the new season, signing English all-rounder George Garton. The Englishman recently starred in the inaugural season of the Hundred tournament for the Southern Brave, being a key player in the side’s title win. Having been knocked out of the finals by the Heat in the eliminator in BBL|10, the Strikers will hope Garton can guide the side deeper into the finals in the upcoming season.

Who’s Missing: The Strikers lost one of its most experienced players during the off-season, with paceman Michael Nesser returning to his home state Queensland and joining his original BBL club Brisbane Heat. Having played for the Strikers for nine seasons and part of their BBL|07 title-winning side, Nesser has been a key contributor over the years, but with the side stocked with quality bowlers, the Strikers should be able to fill the void.  

Key International: The Strikers will be happy to have retained Afghan international Rashid Khan, with the spin bowler signing on to play for the South Australian outfit once in again in the off-season. A proven dangerous leg-spin bowler in T20 cricket, Khan was the third-highest wicket-taker for the Strikers last season taking 16 wickets with the second-best economy rate, and should be amongst the top wicket-takers again in BBL|11.

Wildcard Player: Having made his BBL debut last season with Strikers, 20-year-old all-rounder Liam Scott could be poised to have a breakout season in BBL|11. An exciting young prospect and shown promise for South Australia at first-class level, Scott could be expected to have more opportunities to make an impact this year.

Squad Strengths: Similar to last season, the Strikers’ biggest strength heading into BBL|11 will be their bowling, with their bowling depth one of the strongest in the entire competition.

In addition to retaining their top three wicket-takers from last season in Wes Agar, Peter Siddle, and Rashid Khan, the Strikers have bolstered their bowling depth with the signings of the aforementioned English international George Garton and experienced leg-spin bowler Fawad Ahmed who comes across from the Scorchers.   

Squad Weakness: A concerning weakness heading into the new season for the Strikers is the batting, with the side struggling at times during BBL|10 to get runs on the board. With Alex Carey and skipper Travis Head on international duty for the majority of the season, where will the bulk runs come for the Strikers?

Last season, Jake Weatherald and Alex Carey’s form were strong with the duo scoring 433 and 425 runs for the season respectively, there was a noticeable drop off thereafter in the run averages.

Jonathan Wells was the most noticeable offender, having averaged 68 runs in BBL|09, only averaged 26 runs last season. 

Though the Strikers have retained their key batters in Carey and Weatherald, their third-highest run-scorer from last season Phil Salt won’t be returning which will leave a hole in the Strikers’ batting ranks.

With the Strikers home ground Adelaide Oval traditionally being a ground that is better suited for batting, the Strikers will need to remedy their scoring struggles if they are to get the best out of themselves in BBL|11. 

Best XI: Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald, Travis Head (c), Matthew Renshaw, Jonathan Wells, George Garton, Peter Siddle, Rashid Khan, Daniel Worrall, Wes Agar, Fawad Ahmed.

Giacomo Bruno

Brisbane Heat

Squad: Jimmy Pierson (c), Tom Abell (England), Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Max Bryant, Hugo Burdon, Tom Cooper, Ben Duckett (England), Cameron Gannon, Liam Guthrie, Sam Heazlett, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Chris Lynn, Nathan McSweeney, Michael Neser, Will Prestwidge, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Mujeeb ur Rahman (Afghanistan), Jack Wildermuth

Big Inclusion: The Heat will be pleased to have a familiar face in Michael Neser’s return back to the club, the fast bowler had spent the last nine seasons at the Adelaide Strikers after leaving the Heat at the conclusion of the BBL’s inaugural season. Neser has 68 BBL matches to his name and 69 wickets to show for them, the highlight of his career in the competition to date being the Strikers’ 2017-18 championship-winning season.

Who’s Missing: Often referred to as the ‘third bash brother’, Joe Burns has packed up and moved south after signing a deal with the Melbourne Stars. After several seasons of being in and out of the line-up due to clashes between the international test matches and the BBL, Burns looks set for a full season after hitting his way into vintage territory in BBL|10. Burns has the capabilities to bat lengthy innings and show off his creative capabilities whilst doing so.

Key International: There is absolutely no doubt that Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be not only the key international but the most vital player for the Heat this season. He may be heading into his fourth season with the Heat, but the seventh ICC-ranked world T20 male bowler is just 20 years old and could explode at any point. Mujeeb is a fan favourite and is expecting plenty more wickets from the Afghanistan international.

Wildcard player: We saw snippets of him last season, but the big-hitting, fast bowling, all-rounder in James Bazley could feature a whole lot more this summer, extending the Heat’s batting depth and stepping into the spikes that Ben Cutting once wore. Bazley is the Heat’s wildcard because wild is exactly what Bazley is, he wants lots of runs and lots of wickets, and he wants them quickly, offering a high risk, high reward game style which slots right into the way the Heat do things in the BBL.

Squad Strengths: It wouldn’t be the Brisbane Heat if they weren’t known for their batting explosiveness, and on their day, they’re going to be a tough proposition for any outfit. He may not be leading them this time around, but it’s still Chris Lynn’s team, the top run-scorer and top six-hitter in BBL history will be able to focus more on his personal game and that could mean bad news for opposition teams.

Squad Weakness: It’s not the most star-studded squad the Heat have ever had, and will perhaps put less expectation into what they can achieve in BBL|11, but they won’t see it that way and will take the opportunity to prove doubters they’re capable. It’s a good opportunity for some local talent in Jack Wildermuth, Sam Heazlett, and Max Bryant amongst others to step up another level to help the Heat.

Best XI: Sam Heazlett, Tom Abell, Chris Lynn, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Duckett, Jimmy Peirson (C)(WK), Jack Wildermuth, Michael Neser, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Jack Dobson

BBL|11 Preview – Hobart Hurricanes

Squad: Scott Boland, Harry Brook (England), Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Peter Handscomb, Caleb Jewell, Josh Kann, Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal), Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Mitchell Owen, Joel Paris, Wil Parker, Tom Rogers, D’arcy Short, Jordan Thompson (England), Matthew Wade, Mac Wright

Who’s Missing: Unable to reach an agreement between the two parties, James Faulkner was released in the year by the Hurricanes. Coach Adam Griffiths spoke publicly about Faulkner’s departure, stating that while the Canes would have liked to have kept the all-rounder, he is confident in the side’s younger bowlers moving forward. 

Faulkner made 25 appearances for the Hurricanes since travelling over the Bass Strait from the Melbourne Stars. His form dropped in the move, only managing 90 runs in total, with his best 28* in BBL08. 

Key International: A new face to Australian cricket fans, Harry Brook impressed in England’s summer for Yorkshire and is ready for his debut in the BBL. Averaging 69.43 in the T20 Blast, the middle-order batsman is another quality attribute to the Hurricane’s talented top order. Brook is the Canes’ second international signing, after Sandeep Lamichhane, and is ready to bat strong balls down the field. 

Wildcard Player: In terms of the definition of ‘wildcard’ there are few surprise packages on the Hurricanes side, that is until Lamichhane was re-signed. The Hurricanes lack variation, but it’s the Nepalese leg-spinner that can surprise with his spin of the ball. 

Lamichhane is one of the few specialist spinners on the Hurricanes’ list, therefore his contribution is critical to their lineup. Joining the Hurricanes for his second season after his previous two with the Stars, Lamichhane is also joined by former Perth Scorchers Joel Paris, to enhance their bowling attack. L

Squad Strengths: The Hurricane’s top batting order has always been a force to be reckoned with in the likes of their opening partnership rotation of  Matthew Wade, Ben McDermott, and D’Arcy Short. Wade will dedicate this season solely to captaining the Hurricanes after being left out of Australia’s test side and is doing so after coming off a strong T20 World Cup campaign. McDermott and Short are also in the company of Peter Handscomb, the three all very capable of producing big totals; McDermott himself knocking three half-centuries in BBL|10.

Squad Weakness: The Hurricanes lack a sense of depth among the side despite boasting some high-quality cricketers when listed individually. The top-heavy batting attack leaves significant pressure on the few middle-order cricketers to make an impact should Wade, McDermott, and Short fail to perform on a given night. 

Scott Boland and Riley Meredith have played their fair share of BBL matches however lack a diversity seen across other side’s bowling lineups. The Hurricane’s approach to bowling can somewhat be predicted, with their usual men to step up to the crease, including Lamichhane, all playing similar styles of the game. 

Best XI: Matthew Wade, D’arcy Short, Ben McDermott, Peter Handscomb, Tim David, Harry Brook, Caleb Jewell, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Riley Meredith, Sandeep Lamichhane

Tricia Mifsud

Melbourne Renegades

Squad: Cameron Boyce, Unmukt Chand (India), Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Zahir Khan (Afghanistan), Josh Lalor, Nic Maddinson, Shaun Marsh, Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Reece Topley (England)

Big Inclusion: English fast bowler Reece Topley joins the Renegades in a time of need, coming into a side that struggled to take wickets when required last season. The Englishman adds a layer of international experience, he was named in England’s T20 World Cup squad.

Reece Topley is one of three new international recruits looking to impress in red in 2021. (Photo: Melbourne Renegades/Twitter)

Topley is a notable wicket-taker in the format, taking 119 wickets at 21.57 in 92 matches. The 27-year-old left-arm bowler will add a different dimension to their fast bowling stocks and will create a dangerous trio with Kane Richardson and James Pattinson.

Who’s Missing: After four years at the Renegades, Beau Webster moved across town, signing with rivals the Melbourne Stars. After a breakout campaign in BBL|09, Webster couldn’t quite reach the same heights in BBL|10 but will look to turn back the clock in green. Webster has the ability to build an innings but is dangerous when he flicks the switch, using his long levers and swinging arc to clear the boundary rope. His departure leaves a big void in the Renegades’ middle order.

Key International: The return of the man Renegades fans call “The President” may be more important than ever. Mohammad Nabi’s role in this Renegades team is to play in the middle order and help finish off innings, his off-spin is also handy giving the Renegades another bowling option.

Across his four seasons in the BBL, Nabi has amassed 625 runs at an average of 28.41 with a healthy strike rate of 129.67. His aforementioned off-spin rarely goes for big runs only going for a career economy rate of 7.53, he has taken 25 wickets at an average of 27.36.

As one of the most experienced players in the team, Nabi will be leaned on to show leadership to his younger Renegades’ teammates.

Wildcard Player: You could say in T20 cricket, Nic Maddinson is the definition of a wildcard player. He has the capability to post a big score off a minimal amount of balls but his aggressive mindset also means he is susceptible to departing the crease cheaply. Appointed the new captain of the team, he’ll look to guide the Renegades back to the finals after two disappointing seasons. Maddinson will have to wait to lead his side as he’ll miss the first few games after being named in the Australia A squad, Kane Richardson will lead the team in his absence.

Squad Strengths: Last year, the Renegades struggled to take wickets consistently. This shouldn’t be an issue in BBL|11, as coach David Saker has a number of weapons he can turn to with the ball.

The Renegades brought in Afghanistan leg spinner Zahir Khan who has come from the Stars, while also signing English fast bowler Reece Topley to support the likes of Kane Richardson and James Pattinson, whose focus will be entirely on Big Bash having recently retired from test cricket.

The Gades will also have access to a healthy Cameron Boyce after the leg spinner missed last year’s tournament due to a health scare.

Squad Weakness: With injury clouds over Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh, Marcus Harris in the Test squad, and newly appointed captain Nic Maddinson selected in the Australia A squad it leaves the Renegades not only without their best batters but it leaves a massive hole in experience and leadership.

Kane Richardson will be the most experienced T20 player on the list without them and will captain the side in Maddinson’s absence. Youngsters Mackenzie Harvey, Jake Fraser-McGurk, and Sam Harper will need to stand up with the bat to make up for the holes left by Marsh, Harris, and Maddinson early in the season.

Best XI: Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Sam Harper (WK), Nic Maddinson (C), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Mackenzie Harvey, Mohammad Nabi, James Pattinson, Kane Richardson, Reece Topley, Zahir Khan

Jordan Janssen

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BBL|11 Preview – Melbourne Stars

Squad: Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Tom O’Connell, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Joe Burns, Sam Rainbird, Joe Clarke, Qais Ahmad (joining after the conclusion of Abu Dhabi T10 League), Sam Elliott, Beau Webster, Brody Couch, Peter Nevill, Syed 

Big Inclusion: The Stars, after slumping to a dismal finish in BBL|10 where they failed to make the finals, went after a new wave of talent. Bringing in the likes of Joe Burns and Qais Ahmad from rival franchises was a big move that should bolster the Stars’ stocks, but no inclusion is more important than Beau Webster. Having made a name for himself as a big hitter and handy bowler with cross-town rivals in the Renegades, Webster looks set to take his talents to team green’s middle order and provide much-needed firepower in the middle overs.

Who’s Missing: It’s unfamiliar territory for the Stars fans without Nic Maddinson. He’s done plenty for the Stars, ranging from opening the batting to pinch-hitting in the middle order and then giving handy overs of left-arm spin. Without him, Melbourne Stars will be needing to fill a power-hitting gap that could hurt more than they expected.

Key International: They have brought in plenty of international talent after losing West Indies’ batters Andre Fletcher and Nicholas Pooran, and they differ in roles. Spinner Qais Ahmad will be a great pick-up from the Hurricanes, but none will be better than English batter and keeper Joe Clarke. He got glimpses with the Scorchers last summer, but now he gets a chance to show his dynamic skill set at the top of the Stars’ batting order.

Wildcard Player: The Stars may not have the pace bowling strengths that they used to have, but they’ll be relying on big Billy Stanlake to get going. At his best at the Strikers, he was a scintillating beacon of pace that could rile the best of batters. He is yet to capture this form at the ‘G, but if he gets going he could be the difference if the Stars are to once again challenge for the title.

Squad Strengths: Once again, the Stars’ batting should be very strong. With world-class talent in Joe Clarke joining skipper Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, their top order is laden with X-factor. If Joe Burns and Beau Webster provide valuable runs in the middle order alongside the power-hitting of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Hilton Cartwright, then their depth may be so strong that consistent contributor Nick Larkin misses out. 

Squad Weaknesses: They have some star bowlers at the forefront, but if they fail to deliver wickets then the Stars could be in strife. Adam Zampa may be the best limited-overs spinner in the world at the moment, but if he can’t regularly break through then their pace bowlers must deliver. The likes of Sam Rainbird, Billy Stanlake, and Liam Hatcher will all be important members of the squad if they are to feature in the finals.

Best XI: Marcus Stoinis, Joe Clarke (WK), Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell ( C ), Joe Burns, Beau Webster, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Liam Hatcher, Billy Stanlake, Sam Rainbird, Qais Ahmad

Sean Mortell

Perth Scorchers

Squad: Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Cooper Connolly, Laurie Evans (England), Aaron Hardie, Peter Hatzoglou, Nick Hobson, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Mitch Marsh, Lance Morris, Colin Munro (New Zealand), Tymal Mills (England), David Moody, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Aston Turner, Andrew Tye

Big Inclusion: After bursting onto the scene in BBL|10 and quickly assuming cult figure status at the Melbourne Renegades, the Scorchers pounced, securing the signature of leg-spinner Peter Hatzoglou. After taking 17 wickets in his first season at BBL level, Hatzoglou fills the shoes vacated by Fawad Ahmed as the front-line leg spinner at the Scorchers.

Who’s Missing: After a tremendous year for both England and different franchises around the world, the Scorchers will be missing the services of English power hitter Liam Livingstone this season with the six-hitting machine opting out of this tournament. With countryman Jason Roy also not returning for this edition of the tournament, the Scorchers will be searching for a new opening combination.

Key International: The Scorchers landed a coup late in the signing period when they announced England international Tymal Mills had signed as a replacement player for his countryman Brydon Carse who was ruled out of the tournament with injury.

Mills has had two previous stints in the BBL with the Heat and Hurricanes respectively and returns this time around off the back of some stellar franchise T20 in the last 12 months and after playing for England in the recent T20 World Cup in the UAE. Known as one of the best death bowlers in the world and with an array of change-of-pace deliveries, Mills adds added firepower to a strong Scorchers bowling lineup.

Wildcard Player: How could it not be Mitchell Marsh? The Australian superstar, riding high off his heroics in the T20 World Cup, will miss the early games after he was named in the Australia A squad but will come back in and immediately bolster the top order of the Scorchers with his brute force and power and will look to send the white Kookaburra to all parts of Optus Stadium.

Squad Strengths: 11 of the Scorchers squad members have registered experience at the international level, which showcases the level of talent on the roster. It is a testament to how consistent they have been not only making it to the knockout stages of the different editions but winning their 3 titles and always being talked about as a contender.

Squad Weakness: With both Roy and Livingstone not coming out again for this edition of the tournament, the Scorchers will need to find a new opening pair to get them off to a fast start. Cameron Bancroft and Josh Inglis both have experience opening the batting for both Australia and the Scorchers but will need to develop their power game to get the Scorchers off to a flying start if asked to bat first particularly. Former New Zealand international Colin Munro might get a chance at the top of the order again with a vacant spot after dropping down the order last season.

Best XI: Colin Munro, Josh Inglis (wk), Mitch Marsh, Cameron Bancroft, Laurie Evans, Ashton Turner, Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff, Peter Haztoglou 

Jono Baruch

Sydney Sixers

Squad: Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Dan Christian, Tom Curran (England), Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Chris Jordan (England), Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon, Ben Manenti, Stephen O’Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk, James Vince (England)

Big Inclusion: While only available for the first five games of the season, coming in as an injury replacement for the injured Carlos Braithwaite, Chris Jordan is a massive get for the Sixers in BBL|11. This will be the fourth club for Jordan after stints with the Strikers, Thunder, and Scorchers. One of England’s better bowlers in the recent T20 World Cup, the quick will be a handy addition to Adam Voges’ side in BBL|11. His control of the ball with pace and change-ups, especially at the death, valuable to a side that will be looking to steady things late in the game.

Who’s Missing: Requiring shoulder surgery that’s ruled him out of the tournament completely, Carlos Braithwaite will be missed by the Sixers after he featured in all 16 games of their championship-winning BBL|10 campaign. The West Indian all-rounder was better with the ball than the bat last season, taking 16 wickets with an economy rate of 8.02, but proved he could be destructive with the bat when needed too.

Key International: The match-winner from The Qualifier in BBL|10 that earned them direct entry into the final, Vince hit 98* off 53 balls to guide the Sixers to a nine-wicket win. BBL|11 will mark Vince’s sixth season in the competition – his fourth with the Sixers after a two-year stint with cross-town rivals, the Thunder. He’s played 45 matches within that time for an overall average of 31.95 and a strike rate of 135.81. Vince is damaging as an opening batter and should continue his constructive partnership at the top with Josh Phillipe.

Wildcard Player: Although having been involved in the league for three seasons thus far, Jack Edwards showed his capabilities with the bat more than ever last season, playing nine games for the Sixers and improving his batting average and strike rate, as well as scoring a new BBL career-high 47 runs. While he hasn’t been afforded many opportunities as a top-order batter, he’s made consistent starts and is rising in value, and should be looking to capitalise on any chances he’s given to further his placing in the squad.

Squad Strengths: The Sydney Sixers will continue to ride a wave of momentum, searching for any and all possibilities in earning an elusive three-peat, which would be a first in the BBL. A well-rounded squad with power in every position, the club should be contending for the trophy once more. Boasting a top-six that includes a deadly opening pair of Josh Phillipe and James Vince, useful middle-order batters in Jordan Silk, Moises Henriques, and Daniel Christian, there’s likely to be no shortage of runs scored by the team. The bowling unit, lead by Sean Abbott, that can strike hard at any time will also be better-placed in BBL|11.

Squad Weaknesses: While it’s not a weakness of sorts, the Sixers will be without a handful of first-choice players in the bowling department early on in the season. Fast bowlers Sean Abbott (in the Australia A squad), Jackson Bird, and Ben Manenti (injured) will all miss the opening stages of the season which will be a dampener for the team. Those spots will need to be filled by Ben Dwarshius – the equal-second-highest wicket-taker of BBL|10 – who will be fronting the attack during this time, aided by Tom Curran and Chris Jordan, the latter two who might need to adjust back to the magnitude of the competition after a year away, but it’ll be a great test to see the bowling depth the Sixers have at their disposal, all the more useful to know as the season progresses.

Best XI: Josh Phillipe (wk), James Vince, Daniel Hughes, Jordan Silk, Moises Henriques (c), Dan Christian, Sean Abbott, Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshius, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon

Jason Irvine

BBL|11 Preview – Sydney Thunder

Squad: Sam Billings (England), Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales (England), Baxter Holt, Usman Khawaja (C), Saqib Mahmood (England), Nathan McAndrew, Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain, Sam Whiteman 

Big Inclusion: There haven’t been too many moves by the Thunder, with Gurinder Sandhu the only local inclusion. However, they have picked up young English fast bowler Saqib Mahmood, making it an English trio for the Thunder in BBL|11. He’s played in seven ODIs and nine T20Is, getting a combined 21 wickets at an average of 27.7.

Who’s Missing: They’ve lost only a few, however, the biggest loss is star middle-order batter, Callum Ferguson. Whilst the Thunder did dump him, he was a consistent run-scorer for them. In three out of his four seasons in Sydney, he was in the top three most runs scored for the Thunder during them. In total, he scored 1325 at 30.1 throughout his time at the Thunder, including 405 at 31.2 in BBL|10 (second highest run-scorer for them).

Key International: English heavy hitter Alex Hales is still going to be a crucial cog for the Thunder in BBL|11. He is a superstar T20 batter, and since coming back to the BBL two years ago, he’s formed a formidable duo with captain Usman Khawaja up top.

Since coming to the Thunder, he’s been the top run-scorer in both years, scoring 1119 runs at an average of 38.6 and a ridiculous strike rate of 153.71. Khawaja may miss a bit of the tournament, which makes Hales a massive key for the Thunder’s chances in BBL|11.

Wildcard Player: Talented with both bat and ball, Daniel Sams is set to play another big role for the Thunder in BBL|11. Last season he was well below his best, but he still played a major role for Sydney, scoring 200 runs at an average of 40 (equal highest batting average at Thunder) and taking 11 wickets at 23.7. After gaining some experience at this year’s T20 World Cup in Dubai, he’ll be looking to bring some lessons from that into BBL|11.

Squad Strengths: Stand-in skipper Chris Green said recently that he believes squad continuity will be a key factor this season. Despite the losses of Arjun Nair, Adam Milne, and Callum Ferguson, the Thunder still have a great squad. Whilst they haven’t covered the loss of Ferguson, they still have enough depth now in all areas of the park, including with the bat, to challenge for yet another BBL trophy.

Squad Weaknesses: One potential weakness is the lack of opening batters if Usman Khawaja misses out. Whilst they do have plenty of batters, not many have experience as an opener. They could use makeshift openers, but they won’t have the same impact Khawaja will have. It is a bit of a concern, especially if Khawaja misses out on some games due to the Ashes.

Best XI: Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja (C), Sam Billings (WK), Alex Ross, Oliver Davies, Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Nathan McAndrew, Saqib Mahmood, Tanveer Sangha

Josh Ward

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