Big Bash availability is crucial in terms of how the tournament might pan out. Who will be called up to play for Australia and miss some of the Bash and who will miss the whole thing? Which overseas players are in for the long haul and which for only some of it?
One of the challenges when betting on the Big Bash, whether in terms of picking the outright winner or a candidate for Big Bash top bowler or Big Bash top batsman is knowing the Big Bash availability in detail of the major players.
When betting on the IPL, you know that least all the Indian players are available for the whole of the tournament and you normally know in advance which players from other countries are there for the long-haul and which for only some of it. In the case of the Big Bash, some of the Australian players will miss virtually the whole of the tournament due to international commitments, other some of it, the ones who don’t play for their country get to play the whole of the Bash, while most of the foreign players are there for as long as their team is still in it and others have only signed up for a part of it.
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So let’s try to make sense of it all when it comes to Big Bash availability. Here’s what you need to know:
Big Bash availability- Players absent for some or all of the tournament
- The Big Bash starts on the 17th December and ends on February 8 2020.
- Between the 12th of December and January 7th Australia will be playing a Test series against New Zealand.
- Between January 14 and January 19, Australia will be playing a 3-match ODI Series against India. That means players involved will be unavailable between about January 7 and January 25.
- Some of the overseas players are also only there for either the first or the second half of the tournament so we need to take that into account, as well.
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In other words, players involved in both formats (Tests and ODIs) are unlikely to play any Big Bash at all, while those playing one but not the other might be around for about half of the tournament.
Australia v New Zealand Test Series
Players certain to be called-up: Tim Paine (Hurricanes); Pat Cummins (Thunder), Josh Hazlewood (no BBL team), Nathan Lyon (Sixers), Steve Smith (Sixers), Mitchell Starc (no BBL team), Matthew Wade (Hurricanes), Marnus Labuschagne (Heat).
Players likely to be called up: Joe Burns (Heat), Cameron Bancroft (Scorchers), Travis Head (Strikers), James Pattinson, Michael Neser (Strikers).
Outside chances: Usman Khawaja (Thunder), Peter Siddle (Strikers).
India v Australia ODI Series
Players certain to be called-up: Aaron Finch (Renegades), Steve Smith (Sixers), David Warner (no BBL team), Alex Carey (Strikers), Pat Cummins (Thunder), Mitchell Starc (no BBL team).
Players likely to be called-up– Glenn Maxwell- currently taking a break from cricket due to mental health issues (Stars), Nathan Lyon (Sixers), Adam Zampa (Stars), Peter Handscomb (Stars), Marcus Stonis (Stars) Kane Richardson (Renegades), Marnus Labuschagne (Heat), Ashton Agar (Scorchers), Mitchell Marsh (Scorchers).
Outside chances– Usman Khawaja (Thunder), Ben McDermott (Hurricanes).
Forget about the Australian star fast bowlers in terms of being potential Big Bash top bowlers: Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood aren’t even contracted to a team, while Lyon might boost the Sixers’ chances if Australia decide to leave him out of the India series, preferring to go with maybe Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar. But then again, given it’s in India, all three might make the squad.
Last year’s Big Bash top bowler Kane Richardson won’t be in the Test side but featured in the World Cup and recent T20 series, so is likely to keep his place in the ODI side.
In terms of Big Bash availability among the batters, Warner isn’t contracted to a BBL team at all because he plays both formats for Australia. The tricky one is Aaron Finch. He’s probably had his time as a Test player but is of course the Australian ODI captain meaning that whereas his presence will be a massive boost to the Renegades’ chances because he’ll at least be there for the start and end of it, he has to be dismissed as a Big Bash top batsman chance because he’ll be away for at least four games. Glenn Maxwell may not play either Big Bash or for the ODI side at all but because he bats at four or lower wouldn’t be a candidate for top bat, either.
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The two interesting ones in terms of Big Bash availability are Usman Khawaja and Ben McDermott. Both of them could be serious candidates for Big Bash top bat because of their class and the fact they bat in the top three. Khawaja had a poor World Cup and an even worse Ashes so Australia might decide they’ve seen enough, though an excellent start to the Bash might persuade the Selectors to give him one more chance at ODIs. McDermott isn’t being considered as a Test player but did feature in the recent T20 series against Sri Lanka and could be in contention for the ODIs.
Matthew Wade was an each-way winner last year for top bat, second on 592 runs behind only team-mate D’Arcy Short but will miss too many games on Test duty to be considered a bet this time round.
Carey would have been a decent bet for top batsman but as Australia’s vice-captain in ODIs, he’ll miss at least five matches now. Steve Smith will play at least two matches for the Sixers (after a six-year absence in the Big Bash) after the ODIs are over and any further games if the Sixers make it to the play-offs.
Which teams are most affected?
The sides most affected by Australia’s commitments are the Renegades who will lose their best bowler (Richardson) and batsman (Finch) for four matches when they’re in India and the Hurricanes, who lose Wade and possibly McDermott, not to mention Jofra Archer. Archer is likely to be in England’s Test squad to face South Africa and also in their ODI squad for the series that follows it, even if he’s rested for the odd game. Even if he’s rested for the whole ODI series, he won’t be allowed to turn out in the Bash.
The Hurricanes are unlikely to lose their other batting match-winner D’Arcy Short with Australia probably preferring to let him play as much T20 cricket as possible with a World Cup coming up.
In addition to hoping Maxwell is ok to start the campaign, the Melbourne Stars will be keeping their fingers crossed that Stoinis and Handscomb are left out of the ODI team, though Zampa is almost certain to be included.
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Big Bash availability – Overseas players
AB de Villiers/Tom Banton– Don’t even think about it. De Villiers arrives just after Christmas and Englishman Banton plays up to de Villiers’ arrival, meaning neither gets to play enough matches to be contenders for Big Bash top runscorer. It may also cause some disruption to the side when de Villiers comes in for Banton, because they bat in different positions.
Dale Steyn/Pat Brown- Steyn plays at least six matches for the Stars but then leaves to feature for South Africa in an ODI series. He’s replaced by Pat Brown, who may have been a good shout for top bowler if he’d been there for the whole tournament.