Big Bash English players have a chance to pick up a nice paycheck, get some experience and show the selectors what they can do. Here’s the lowdown on them.
Not many English Big Bash players in the past
An English player at Big Bash used to be something of a rarity. Michael Carberry had a spell at the Perth Scorchers, as did Paul Collingwood a couple of years before him. Luke Wright turned out a few seasons for the Melbourne Stars, the last few alongside the great Kevin Pietersen.
Eoin Morgan had mixed success, Alex Hales also chanced his arm and played a couple of blinders and then of course there was Andrew Fintoff’s largely unsuccessful time with the Brisbane Heat, good from a publicity point of view but at a time when his body was somewhat broken and his skills not nearly as sharp as they had been a few years earlier. Other English players making appearances ave included Joe Root, Jos Buttler and David Willey in recent times.
But at Big Bash 9 we’ll have at least eight English players making an appearance, with the number possibly set to rise over the next few weeks depending on injuries and other players’ availability.
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Why are there going to be so many English players at the Big Bash this year?
England won’t be in limited-overs action during a big chunk of the Bash. They’ll start playing a Test series in South Africa on the 26th December so that explains why we won’t see the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes or Jos Buttler, very good T20 players, who miss out for that reason.
Then there’s an ODI Series after that but no T20s. In other words, all the English T20 specialists are available as long as they’re not called up to play in the ODI series which starts on the 4th February.
The latter could possibly affect James Vince, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan. We’ll have to wait and see. It may be too early for Alex Hales to think about a recall after his infamous failed drugs test, if he gets re-called at all.
But there may be more than just availability as a reason for the large number of English players. Maybe some of the teams feel that for language and cultural reasons, it’s easier for English players to integrate themselves in the side and the country than it is for players from other countries.
It could also be about money. The vast majority of them are players who made a name for themselves in the T20 Blast rather than being England stars so won’t expect to get paid the sort of fortunes that a Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard or even Shahid Afridi might demand.
Most of the other international teams are in action, though South African limited-overs players could play at least the first 2/3 of it, even if it means leaving early for that England ODI series. Which is precisely what’s happened with Dale Steyn, who will feature for the Melbourne Stars for the first part of the Bash and then leave to go home. We don’t know if Chris Morris of the Sydney Thunder will be called up by the Proteas.
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The English players at Big Bash
Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers)
We almost forget that he made his England debut before Sam, who is now regularly featuring for England in all three formats.
Older brother Tom is arguably the better bowler in T20s and though he can’t be considered an all-rounder, his occasional lower-order big hitting can change a game in this format. Did a good job last year for the Sixers so it’s no surprise he got asked back. Might leave early if he’s called up by England’s ODI side.
James Vince (Sydney Sixers)
One of the more experienced Big Bash England players. Closing in on 200 T20 games at domestic level to go with his 12 at international level. 34 fifties and a century in T20s suggest he’s a player who knows his way around a T20 innings. Strike rate of 123 is healthy, if not eye-catching. A safe option for the Sixers to bring him in and bat him at 1 or 3. Is unlikely to be called up for ODI duties so they should have him for the whole thing.
Harry Gurney (Melbourne Renegades)
Arrived for the latter part of last season and bowled an excellent spell in the final, to concede just 20 runs from four overs and take the wicket of the ever-dangerous Nic Maddinson. Just the sort of T20 specialist a captain can to turn to when they need a wicket or a quiet over. Good move to secure his services for the whole season with an ODI call-up somewhat unlikely.
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Pat Brown (Melbourne Stars)
A lot of what we said about Gurney applies to Pat Brown as well. No-one has taken more wickets in the last two seasons of the T20 Blast than the Worcestershire man who had his moments against New Zealand in the autumn T20 series. Comes in for the second part of the season for he Melbourne Stars as a replacement for Dale Steyn.
Liam Livingstone (Perth Scorchers)
They’ve always loved an Englishman over at the Scorchers with Ian Bell, Michael Carberry, Paul Collingwood and David Willey among those to have played for the three-time champions. He’s done the business in the T20 Blast but this will be a chance to see if he can replicate his good performances out of his comfort zone.
Chris Jordan (Perth Scorchers)
One of the English players at Big Bash with the most experience, having already played for the Strikers and the Thunder.
A late signing for the Scorchers given he only signed up in mid-November. Highly experienced in this format and a death bowler who can be as stingy as an impoverished student, when defending not that many runs. Also an excellent fielder though he never became the all-rounder he might have been. You know what you’re going to get with Jordan.
Alex Hales (Sydney Thunder)
We all know what Alex Hales can do. He’s still one of only two Englishmen (Dawid Malan the other in that same NZ T20 series last month) to score an international T20 century to go with his three at domestic level. His mammoth strike rate of 141 ensures that even if he doesn’t get that many, the runs he does get will be scored quickly enough. Desperate to earn back the trust of the England management so has a great chance to remind everyone he’s still around.
Phil Salt (Adelaide Strikers)
Arguably the least well-known of the English boys and the only one not to have played for England. With a strike rate of 154, he scores even quicker than Hales. A return of eight fifties from 50 games is a pretty good effort in this format from the Sussex man. Comes in pretty much as a like-for-like replacement for the departed Colin Ingram and will have to make an impact at the top of the order when Travis Head and Alex Carey are on international duty. One of the English players at Big Bash who can really make a name for himself and maybe even secure an IPL contract.
Jofra Archer (Hobart Hurricanes)
Archer is still listed as being a Hobart player but it’s extremely hard to see how he’ll play at all. He’ll feature in both the Test series against South Africa and the ODI one as well but even if he’s rested for one or the other, what are the chances the England management will say ‘Oh, but go and play some Bash while you’re off duty”? Slim to none. Hobart had better find a suitable replacement before it’s too late.
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