Retaining the majority of the same team from BBL10 and adding some new international talent, captain Moises Henriques believes the Sydney Sixers can go back-to-back-to-back, capturing the BBL’s first-ever three-peat.
The Sixers might be coming into this season having won the last Big Bash Final against the Perth Scorchers, but Henriques isn’t looking past their season opener against the Melbourne Stars on Sunday night.
“It’s possible we’re not going to win [our] first game of the season against the Stars, but it is extremely possible [the three-peat],” Henriques told media at the season launch in Sydney.
“We’ve earned nothing so far to make it through.
“I believe we have the team to do it, but the piece of paper with all the names on the list don’t win you anything.
“We’re gonna have to go out and be the best we can be every moment that we play and every moment that we’re involved in.”
Despite winning the last two titles, Henriques feels the pressure of fulfilling the ‘three-peat’ won’t get to his side.
“As a team, we’ve created some mechanisms and methods over the last few years to deal with that [pressure]. We’ve won a lot of close games, obviously won the last two finals at home under the pressure of playing at home trying to do as well as you can for your fans.
“I don’t feel like there’s any pressure, nothing terrible’s going to happen to anyone if we don’t win the comp. We’ll do our best, but I’ll be doing my best to try and make sure there’s no pressure built upon anyone.”
The Sixers have come into BBL11 with minimal roster changes, adding Mickey Edwards and Englishman Chris Jordan, while welcoming the return of English all-rounder Tom Curran, who missed last year’s tournament after pulling out due to bubble fatigue.
English batter James Vince, who enjoyed his best season in the BBL last season, scoring 537 runs at an average of 38 will also return to the Sixers in BBL11.
The Sixers had re-signed West Indian allrounder Carlos Brathwaite, but with Brathwaite undergoing shoulder surgery recently, he won’t be ready for the start of the tournament. The Sixers have secured the services of 30-year-old English fast bowler Chris Jordan for the first five games of the season to replace the big West Indian.
Australian cricket fans will remember Jordan, previously seeing him in the Big Bash for the Adelaide Strikers, Sydney Thunder and most recently for the Perth Scorchers in BBL09.
He also played a key role in England’s demolition of Australia in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, earning player of the match honours, taking 3/17 off four overs.
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Henriques recently played with Jordan for the Punjab Kings in the recent edition of the Indian Premier League. The 34-year-old said Jordan will be a good acquisition for the Sixers, especially with Sean Abbott expected to miss the part of the tournament due to being around the Australian test set-up.
“I’ve always loved playing with him [Chris Jordan], I much prefer playing with him than against him, he does all three things pretty well, he’s a very good bowler, a very good fielder and he can bat. Anyone who can do all three skills in T20 [cricket] is a really good acquisition,” he said.
“We’re gonna be missing Sean [Abbott] for the first little bit of the tournament [and] they’re very similar players in that sense that they do all three things really well.”
Jordan’s ability to bowl in the death overs was one of the main reasons the Sixers were eager to get him on board.
“Chris is a bit more of a death specialist bowler, which is another huge reason why we were really hungry to sign him because anyone who wants to bowl at the death is someone who [can] cope with [the] pressure really well,” Henriques commented.
“It doesn’t always go your way, but he’s shown he’s got the ability to keep bouncing back. He’s shown that resilience whether it was for England or different teams.”
Jordan will join an already stacked bowling unit, featuring Steve O’Keefe, Jackson Bird, Dan Christian and Sean Abbott when he returns. Henriques believes Jordan will also have an impact on the younger members of the squad.
“He’s great for the younger bowlers, he loves talking bowling, cricket and the mental side of the game. All those things were taken into consideration,” he said.
“I’m really excited that he said yes because we were pretty hungry almost as a culture signing as much as anything because he’s a really nice guy. I feel like he’s gonna make all of our bowlers a little bit better.”
After playing most of last season with little to no spectators in the stands, the Sixers were able to play the grand final in front of their supporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
A moment Henriques and his teammates cherished, admitting it was ‘really special and I think a lot of the guys will never forget how loud and supportive that fan base was’.
“That game, we’ve all played in front of some pretty big crowds, and it wasn’t sold out, but it was certainly one of the loudest and most supportive crowds we’ve ever played in front of.
“A lot of the guys almost don’t even remember what happened in the game except for how good the crowd was, it’s just such an epic night to be a part of,” Henriques said.
Henriques and the Sixers can’t wait to play in front of crowds again.
“I’m sure the guys will be looking forward to more moments like that [last year’s final], whether it be in round games or if we’re good enough to make the finals this year to have something similar to what we experienced last year would be pretty cool.”
The Sydney Sixers will be looking to start BBL11 on the right note with a win as they face the Melbourne Stars in their season opener, at the SCG on Sunday, November 5. Play is set to start at 7:35pm.
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