Renegades aiming to climb BBL ladder with new recruits and youngsters

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

It’s been a dismal last two seasons for the Renegades, but young batter Jake Fraser-McGurk believes they can climb the ladder in BBL|11.

They finished their second consecutive season as wooden spooners after winning their first title. Their record after winning it has been dismal, going 7-21 since that fateful BBL|08 Grand Final.

It’s a young group again this season, but the Renegades have bought in a couple of new recruits. Three of those signings are new imports, including Zahir Khan, Indian batter Unmukt Chand and English fast bowler Reece Topley.

Khan has previous experience with both the Stars and Heat, whilst Chand is set to be the first Indian to ever play in the Big Bash. Topley also comes across with some international experience and after being named in the England World Cup squad.

Topley told media at the Melbourne BBL|11 launch day that whilst he didn’t get a game, he was amazed at his experience in the UAE.

“It was an unbelievable experience. You get to learn from some guys that’ve obviously played a lot of international stuff and a lot of T20 cricket around the world,” Topley said.

This isn’t his first time in Australia, having previously toured here with the England Lions. He hopes to use his previous experience down under while looking to the wisdom of Renegades coach David Saker and bowling coach Mick Lewis.

“​​I’ve played here before, I’ve toured here with the England A side a few years ago so I hope to use some of that experience, but also lean on Sakes and Micky Lewis for some of their advice.”

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Topley’s was in Melbourne when the Renegades won the title, unable to play any cricket due to his fourth stress factor. He said he was happy to come out already familiar with the playing group.

“I know a lot of the guys pretty well which is nice, arriving to this environment having already formed a relationship with a lot of guys.”

Fraser-McGurk meanwhile is set for his second season in red, with the young batter hoping he can nail down a spot in the lineup.

Marcus Harris and Nic Maddinson will both be unavailable as part of the Ashes and Australia A Squads respectively. It leaves two opening batting spots well and truly up for the taking for the Renegades.

“Those first few games will be good opportunities for the young players to get in there and show what they can do. Hopefully I can cement that when the big dogs come back,” Fraser-McGurk said.

Ex-coach Michael Klinger was a helpful mentor for him last year, teaching him how to best bat through an innings in T20 cricket.

“​​One of the things he said to me is there’s always time to catch up, you don’t really need to go from ball one.”

He added that whilst they still have a young squad with some of the Australian players missing, the Renegades will still be aiming to claim as many victories as they can.

“We’ve obviously got a really good squad this year and it’s young, but a few boys are in the Aussie teams. But when they come back, we’re hoping to really win some more games and get up to the top of the ladder.”

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