With the Big Bash upon us for another year, its time to have a look at the import players brought in to strengthen some teams title chances and to bring entertainment value to those of us watching at home.
Joe Root (Thunder)
The current captain of the England National Team is playing in the BBL this summer; may not be what every England cricket fan wants to see, but boy does it make this BBL as star-studded as ever. It will be the first time ever that a current captain of England will take part in an overseas T20 tournament – surprised it has taken this long. However, Joe Root’s place in the Sydney Thunder lineup automatically makes them one of the big boys in this seasons competition.
But despite the current captains desire to play T20 for England, he is currently out of their best side. This is not just Root coming to play for a bit of fun and some extra pocket money, there is a lot riding on this competition as he hopes to make his way back into England’s best 11. He will be unable to play any other domestic T20 due to international commitments, so this will be his only chance to prove why he should be back in the international scene. Expect fireworks when him and mate Jos Buttler bat together at the SCG.
Jofra Archer (Hurricanes)
In 12 months, Jofra Archer may have just become one of the worlds best T20 specialists. Having taken the BBL by storm last season with the Hurricanes, Archer’s ability to take wickets, save runs in the field and show athleticism like we have never seen before makes him one of the imports to watch throughout this season.
He, like Joe Root is also aiming to grab a spot in the England T20 side, despite being Barbados born. A change in nationality and eligibility rules makes him now eligible to play for England, something Archer will not want to pass up. There is a lot riding on some of these Englishmen in this seasons BBL.
Brendon McCullum (Heat)
Brendon McCullum is a veteran of the BBL, with his big hitting and great personality two factors that never fail to light up the Australian summer. But like many, his future in T20 cricket may indeed be dependent on his performances down under. McCullum, to much surprise, has been snubbed in the IPL auction, and has recently been released by Lahore in the Pakistan Super League.
He has featured in every IPL season since its inception, but will miss the 2019 edition. Because of the lack of cricket he may see after the BBL, this could be the last time we see McCullum ply his trade. In saying that, we know he is a superstar and we cannot wait to see him light it up once again.
Colin Ingram (Strikers)
Colin Ingram just last night became the third most expensive player in T20 cricket, as he was purchased by the Delhi Capitals for three times his base price in the IPL auction. But the left-handed South African still has a score to settle in Australia, after a first season for the Strikers that saw him become a cult hero, and quickly. Having stepped in for Travis Head’s absence as captain last season, Ingram’s ability to hit a lofted ball and score quickly meant he was a fan favourite around Adelaide. His best performance at Etihad Stadium saw him hit 68 of just 36 balls, being awarded man of the match. His strike rate of 130+ last season is something that will be welcomed back with opening arms by the Strikers.
Usman Khan Shinwari (Renegades)
For those of you who didn’t read Bozza gush about Shinwari in the Renegades preview, this is what he had to say about the Pakistani quick that he can’t wait to see in BBL08. Back injuries have prevented Shinwari from an extended stay in the Pakistan side, but the 24-year-old’s brief stints in the national team have shown him to be a tremendous talent. At T20 level he has been particularly destructive with 57 wickets from his 47 games with an average of 20 and a strike rate of 16! If he can get the new ball to talk in the Big Bash like he has elsewhere he could well be the import of the year.