Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Usman Khawaja, Michael Klinger and D’Arcy Short make up our five-man shortlist for Big Bash best batsman.
We’re now into the eighth edition of the Big Bash. And that’s enough time to be able to make an assessment of who were/are the top five batsmen to have played in it. Before going a step further and picking the best of them all!
Big Bash Best Batsman
1915 Runs/Average 31.39/Strike Rate/118.72/1 century/12 50s
Throughout the whole of the Perth Scorchers’ success, made up of three wins and a further two runner-up spots, Michael Klinger was a permanent fixture at the top of the order for them.
No-one has scored more runs in the history of the Bash than him and for that reason alone, Klinger must be in contention to be considered a candidate for Big Bash best batsman.
An uncomplicated cricketer and just about the nicest guy you’ll meet in Australian cricket – of some relevance in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal – he was the rock at the top that most successful T20 teams have.
He wasn’t one to be rushed as proved by the fact that only one player in the Top 20 of highest Big Bash runscorers has a lower strike rate than his. Nor was he a thrash and bash player, with his 37 sixes being less than anyone else in the Top 8, from among the Bash’s top scorers.
Instead, he was calmness personified, a player who marched to the team of his own drum. It’s somewhat unlikely that he’ll be back next year but he’s more than left his mark on this tournament.
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1711 runs/Average 39.79/Strike rate 138.09/1 century/14 50s
Finch is the third highest runscorer in Bash history and this despite playing less games than anyone else in the Top 10. He’s joint-top alongside Chris Lynn for most fifties, with 14.
Had he been available for his team the Melbourne Renegades more often, rather than always missing a big chunk of the Bash on ODI duty for Australia, the Renegades would almost certainly not have been the only side never to have made a final.
Playing his trademark pulls, vicious cuts and drives over long-on, he got many a Renegades innings off to a flyer.
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956 runs/Average 50.21/Strike rate 130.24/2 centuries/6 50s
A slightly left-field selection for Big Bash best batsman, given he only ranks 25th for most career Big Bash runs scored. But just look at that average.
Not only is he the only player to average over 50 but most of the others on the Top 40 list only just about average 40. He’s also the only player other than Luke Wright to have two Big Bash centuries.
Like Finch, he missed out on a lot of matches due to ODI call-ups, although he also missed a fair few through injury.
Not exactly the greatest athlete to have graced the league nor one of the quickest between the wickets, it’s testament to his talent that he’s got that many runs, when he has played.
Had he played around 50 games, he’d probably be the top run-getter in Bash history, if his average is anything to go by.
(1029 runs, average 42.87, Strike rate 147.0, 1 century, 9 50s)
With just 25 Big Bash games under his belt and solely in his third season of it, it’s perhaps a little unfair to compare him with players who have been around since the start for the privilege of being Big Bash best batsman.
But we can only judge a player by the games he has played rather than those he hasn’t. And Short’s impact has been immense since making his debut in Big Bash 6. Averaging 42 and hitting fifty or more every other 2.5 knocks, his fearless approach at a strike rate of 147 as an opener, has reaped rewards.
He was the Big Bash top runscorer and player of the tournament at Big Bash 7 as the Hobart Hurricanes ended as runners-up. After racking up endless man-of-the-match awards since, one suspects that might not be the last Player of the Tournament award he gets.
A late bloomer at this level, one suspects that only age (he’s 28) will stop him from breaking all manner of Big Bash records.
(1807 runs, average 41.06, strike rate 153.52, 1 century, 14 50s)
He’s so good that the term ‘Lynnsanity’ was coined to describe one of those knocks he plays that just beggars belief.
On commentary Andrew Flintoff once said he’d never seen anyone hit the ball further than Brisbane Heat all-rounder Ben Cutting.
He wouldn’t have needed to have gone very far to see another man who could be in contention for that honour.
Not the tallest man to have played the game nor necessarily the bulkiest compared to other Bash willow-wielders like Shane Watson or Aaron Finch but Lynn’s power is immense, often hitting it 20 or more rows back when clearing the boundary. It helps to explain why his 115 sixes are almost twice as many as anyone else (Finch is next best with 60) has hit in Bash history. His strike rate of 153 is the highest of anyone in the Top 50 top Big Bah runscorers.
To watch Lynn in full flow is exhilarating for Heat fans and the neutral, utterly demoralising for opposition bowlers and fans. You just seem helpless because it almost doesn’t matter where you bowl; he’ll find a way to deposit you into the stands.
So who’s the Big Bash best batsman? In the spirit of T20 cricket, we’re going with the man who scores his runs the fastest, gets to that magical 50 mark most often, hits far more sixes than anyone else and has been doing so from the beginning, year after year. And that can only mean Chris Lynn.