Predicted Big Bash teams for BBL09.
Predicted Big Bash teams for BBL09.

Predicted Big Bash teams for opening round

THE Big Bash is just over a month away and already teams are taking shape ahead of the ninth edition of the tournament.

Here's how we see each team lining up.

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ADELAIDE STRIKERS

Tim Michell's team:

Alex Carey

Jake Weatherald

Phil Salt

Travis Head

Cameron White

Matt Short or Jon Wells

Rashid Khan

Michael Neser

Billy Stanlake

Peter Siddle

Ben Laughlin

Tom Sangster's team:

Alex Carey

Jake Weatherald

Phil Salt

Travis Head

Cameron White

Matt Short

Michael Neser

Rashid Khan

Peter Siddle

Ben Laughlin

Billy Stanlake

Strength: Red-hot top order with Travis Head likely bumped to No.4 behind Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald and English import Phil Salt. Also have the best spinner in the business in Rashid Khan.

Weakness: Depth could get tested at stages with Head, Carey, Michael Neser, Peter Siddle and Billy Stanlake all in the conversation for national honours.

Big call: Wes Agar is one of the form bowlers in domestic cricket this year but likely misses out barring injuries or national call-ups.

Depends on conditions: The Strikers only have two specialist spinners, Khan and Liam O'Connor, in their entire 18-man squad. Travis Head and Matt Short could be called upon to do plenty of bowling.

Travis Head’s recent Test axing could make him available for the Sixers.
Travis Head’s recent Test axing could make him available for the Sixers.

BRISBANE HEAT

Tim Michell team:

Max Bryant

Tom Banton

Chris Lynn

Joe Burns

Matt Renshaw

Ben Cutting

James Pattinson

Josh Lalor

Mark Steketee

Mitch Swepson

Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Tom Sangster team:

Max Bryant

Tom Banton

Chris Lynn

Joe Burns

Matt Renshaw

James Peirson

Ben Cutting

James Pattinson

Mark Steketee

Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Josh Lalor

Strength: Even without the retired Brendon McCullum, the Heat have huge power in the top order with Max Bryant, Tom Banton and Chris Lynn.

Weakness: Fast bowling stocks are very thin, particularly if James Pattinson is called up to the Australian side.

Big call: Does English import Banton keep wickets or does James Pierson get a run?

Depends on conditions: Heat have the option of playing two spinners at the start of the tournament in Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mitchell Swepson (Zahir Khan replaces Mujeeb later in the tournament). Or if conditions suit the quicks, Swepson could sit out with Matt Renshaw a back-up spin option.

Tom Banton comes to Australia from England with huge hype.
Tom Banton comes to Australia from England with huge hype.

HOBART HURRICANES

Tim Michell's team:

D'Arcy Short

Matthew Wade

Caleb Jewell

Ben McDermott

George Bailey

James Faulkner

Simon Milenko

David Moody

Riley Meredith

Qais Ahmad

Scott Boland

Tom Sangster's team:

D'Arcy Short

Caleb Jewell

Ben McDermott

George Bailey

Jake Doran

James Faulkner

Simon Milenko

David Moody

Riley Meredith

Qais Ahmad (Afghanistan)

Scott Boland

Strength: D'Arcy Short is an absolute powerhouse at this level. He topped the runs in last season's Big Bash with 637 at 53.08 and also took 10 wickets.

Weakness: The most unsettled roster in the competition. Matthew Wade (start of tournament) and Jofra Archer (entire tournament) are all but out due to international duties. Officially, the Hurricanes still have five roster spots to fill - the most of any side - although Jake Doran, Simon Milenko, David Moody are tipped to fill three.

Big call: Wade is likely on Test duty for the start of the tournament, meaning selectors must pick between Jake Doran, Ben McDermott or Caleb Jewell for their wicket keeping role.

Depends on conditions: Qais Ahmad is the only recognised spinner in both XIs above, meaning plenty of bowling will fall to Short, who bowls wicket taking balls but also goes for runs.

D'Arcy Short’s wrist spin could be very handy.
D'Arcy Short’s wrist spin could be very handy.

MELBOURNE RENEGADES

Tim Michell's team:

Aaron Finch

Shaun Marsh

Marcus Harris

Sam Harper

Tom Cooper

Dan Christian

Mohammad Nabi

Jack Wildermuth or Will Sutherland

Cameron Boyce

Kane Richardson

Harry Gurney

Tom Sangster's team:

Aaron Finch

Shaun Marsh

Marcus Harris

Sam Harper

Tom Cooper

Dan Christian

Mohammad Nabi

Jack Wildermuth

Cameron Boyce

Kane Richardson

Harry Gurney

Strength: Shaun Marsh's arrival creates a red-hot opening partnership with Aaron Finch. Statistically, Marsh is an all-time great of BBL, averaging 49.48 over his career. Hopefully the Marvel Stadium pitch improves to a decent standard and we can see the best of these undoubted T20 guns.

Weakness: The reigning champions have a well-rounded side but potential national call-ups for Harris, Finch and Kane Richardson will Test depth, particularly during the middle of the tournament when Finch leads Australia's ODI tour to India.

Big call: A plethora of all-rounders (Dan Christian, Mohammad Nabi and Jack Wildermuth) could see highly-rated young gun Will Sutherland miss out.

Depends on conditions: The notoriously inconsistent Marvel Stadium pitch combined with the overload of all-rounders could see the Renegades stack another batsman into their XI. Look for 17-year-old Jake Fraser-McGurk to make an impression after becoming Victoria's third youngest Sheffield Shield debutant.

Shaun Marsh is a key buy for the Renegades.
Shaun Marsh is a key buy for the Renegades.

MELBOURNE STARS

Tim Michell's team:

Ben Dunk

Marcus Stoinis

Peter Handscomb

Glenn Maxwell

Nic Maddinson

Hilton Cartwright

Clint Hinchcliffe

Nathan Coulter-Nile

Dale Steyn

Adam Zampa

Sandeep Lamichanne

Tom Sangster's team:

Ben Dunk

Nic Maddinson

Peter Handscomb

Glenn Maxwell

Marcus Stoinis

Hilton Cartwright

Nathan Coulter-Nile

Adam Zampa

Sandeep Lamichhane

Dale Steyn

Daniel Worrall

Strength: Having a gun all-rounder like Marcus Stoinis, who bats in the top five and bowls four overs almost every game, gives the Stars flexibility. Stoinis's prowess with the willow means the Stars can play an extra batsman if the situation is right, or stack the bowling, which is lead by South African superstar Dale Steyn.

Weakness: Nic Maddinson and Glenn Maxwell are currently sitting out due to mental health issues. Both are guns in this format (Maddinson has the ninth most runs in Big Bash history and Maxwell's T20 credentials don't require listing) and any delays to their comebacks would leave huge holes. Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Peter Handscomb and Stoinis will also come into calculations for higher honours.

Big call: The Stars face a huge decision on who opens the batting. Marcus Stoinis dominated in the role last season, but Maddinson and Maxwell also covet the role.

Depends on conditions: With two gun spinners in the side - Sandeep Lamichhane and Adam Zampa - don't expect Maxwell to do much bowling unless the conditions are very favourable.

Marcus Stoinis could bat anywhere in the top five.
Marcus Stoinis could bat anywhere in the top five.

PERTH SCORCHERS

Tim Michell's team:

Liam Livingstone

Cameron Bancroft

Mitchell Marsh

Ashton Turner

Kurtis Patterson

Ashton Agar

Josh Inglis

Joel Paris

Jhye Richardson

Matthew Kelly

Fawad Ahmed

Fawad Ahmed has joined the Scorchers from the Thunder. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Fawad Ahmed has joined the Scorchers from the Thunder. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Tom Sangster's team:

Liam Livingstone

Cameron Bancroft

Kurtis Patterson

Mitchell Marsh

Ashton Turner

Sam Whiteman

Ashton Agar

Cameron Green

Jhye Richardson

Matthew Kelly

Fawad Ahmed

Strength: Huge middle order hitting power with Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Turner.

Weakness: Pace depth will be tested without Jason Behrendorff (stress fracture in back), Andrew Tye (elbow) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (Stars). Jhye Richardson and less experienced trio Cameron Green, Matthew Kelly and Joel Paris will need to step up.

Big call: The Scorchers have three potential wicket keepers in the squad. Who gets the nod out of Cameron Bancroft (assuming he misses Test selection), Sam Whiteman and Josh Inglis?

Depends on conditions: The squad possesses two gun spinners in Ashton Agar and Fawad Ahmed but don't expect both to play every game if there's juice in the Optus Stadium pitch.

Cameron Bancroft is capable of taking the gloves.
Cameron Bancroft is capable of taking the gloves.

SYDNEY SIXERS

Tim Michell team:

Daniel Hughes

Josh Philippe

James Vince

Moises Henriques

Jordan Silk

Jack Edwards

Tom Curran

Sean Abbott

Stephen O'Keefe

Jackson Bird

Ben Dwarshuis

Tom Sangster team:

Daniel Hughes

Josh Philippe

James Vince

Moises Henriques

Jordan Silk

Jack Edwards

Tom Curran

Stephen O'Keefe

Sean Abbott

Jackson Bird

Ben Dwarshuis

Strength: Nicely balanced top order with the finesse of Daniel Hughes, dash of Josh Philippe, international experience of James Vince and power of Moises Henriques

Weakness: Batting drops off quite quickly with Jordan Silk (No. 5) and Jack Edwards (No. 6) slated for the remaining two slots. Silk's T20 strike rate is a rather unimpressive 121.79, while 19-year-old Edwards is unproven after averaging 9.42 last season.

Big call: Jackson Bird is a noted performer at first class level (363 wickets at 24) but struggles in the shorter formats. He averages 42.00 in List A and 31.27 in T20s. May only play if there's juice in the deck.

Depends on conditions: The Sixers possess two hyped young spinners in Lloyd Pope and Dan Fallins. Both will be hoping for call-ups in the opening weeks alongside Stephen O'Keefe while Nathan Lyon is on Test duty.

Moises Henriques is set to captain the Sixers. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Moises Henriques is set to captain the Sixers. Picture: Phil Hillyard

SYDNEY THUNDER

Tim Michell's team:

Usman Khawaja

Alex Hales

Callum Ferguson

Matt Gilkes

Jason Sangha or Alex Ross

Daniel Sams

Chris Morris

Arjun Nair

Chris Green

Jono Cook

Gurinder Sanhdu

Usman Khawaja is in the frame for national selection.
Usman Khawaja is in the frame for national selection.

Tom Sangster's team:

Usman Khawaja

Alex Hales

Callum Ferguson

Matt Gilkes

Jason Sangha

Daniel Sams

Chris Morris

Arjun Nair

Chris Green

Brendan Doggett

Chris Tremain

Strength: Another team packed with all-rounders in Daniel Sams, Chris Morris, Arjun Nair and Chris Green. Green likely bats at No.9 despite proving a matchwinner with the willow on multiple occasions during his 75-game T20 career.

Weakness: Lack batting depth following the exits of Jos Buttler (England), Shane Watson (retired), Joe Root (England) and Kurtis Patterson (Scorchers), while Usman Khawaja could be called up for national duty at any stage. Highly-rated young guns Matt Gilkes and Jason Sangha assume huge responsibility.

Big call: Ollie Davies and Tanveer Sangha are two of the most hyped youngsters in the Big Bash but likely warm the bench for the start of the tournament.

Depends on conditions: Chris Tremain is a noted new-ball bowler but could be left out if conditions suit Thunder's spinners Nair, Green and Jono Cook - as is often the case at Spotless Stadium.

BBL PREDICTIONS

Tim Michell

Final: Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Renegades

Champion: Adelaide Strikers

Tom Sangster

Final: Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes

Champion: Sydney Sixers

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