Big movements during the off-season failed to translate into on-field success for the Melbourne Renegades this summer
BBL|13 review: Renegades’ next gen shine but big guns struggle
Excitement machine Jake Fraser-McGurk provided some pulsating moments for Melbourne Renegades fans, but the club's high-profile signings failed to fire in what they've termed a "disappointing" KFC BBL|13 campaign.
After a return to the Big Bash finals last season following three lean years, hopes were high that the Renegades could not only feature again at the business end, but potentially go all the way.
However the club, whose sole title came in the 2018-19 summer, once again found themselves towards the base of the table in BBL|13 after a run of results they concede did not meet their standards.
Coming off an ODI World Cup campaign in which both were named in the ICC Team of the Tournament, expectations were high that off-season signings Adam Zampa and Quinton de Kock would turn the 'Gades into a league force.
However that failed to materialise, with neither making a significant impact.
Instead it was Fraser-McGurk and allrounder Will Sutherland – who have both made international debuts on the back of strong campaigns – who provided the club's best moments throughout the campaign.
Now, following the retirements of club stalwarts Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh, the Renegades are looking to the pair to lead a core group of young guns to complement the club's experienced heads.
BBL|13 result: Seventh (2 wins, 6 losses, 2 no-results)
Most runs: Jake Fraser-McGurk (257)
Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Will Sutherland (162.31)
Most wickets: Tom Rogers (8)
Best economy (min 10 overs): Mujeeb Ur Rahman (7.47)
Contracted for BBL|14: Harry Dixon (contracted until the end of BBL14), Jake Fraser-McGurk (BBL17), Nathan Lyon (BBL15), Kane Richardson (BBL14), Tom Rogers (BBL14), Will Sutherland (BBL17), Adam Zampa (BBL14)
Out of contract: Aaron Finch (retired), Mackenzie Harvey, Ruwantha Kellapotha, Nic Maddinson, Shaun Marsh (retired), Fergus O'Neill, Peter Siddle, Jon Wells
South Africa star Quinton de Kock managed just 104 runs in his six innings, with a top score of 38, despite having starred with 594 runs (at 59.40) at the ODI World Cup. Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was however a steadying influence with the ball, and finished with seven wickets in his six games throughout BBL|13. His economy rate of 7.47 was comfortably the club's best (for any bowler to have sent down more than 10 overs).
English keeper-batter Joe Clarke, who was pinched by the Renegades from the Stars during the off-season, did not make as big an impact than at the cross-town rivals, scoring 111 runs in five knocks before a quad injury ended his season. His countryman Jordan Cox finished with 60 runs from his four innings, while Windies spinner Akeal Hosein starred in his one game for the club, taking 2-18 in the Melbourne Derby.
Season recap with general manager James Rosengarten
Expectations not realised, worried about losing
"We finished third last year and with Zampa in there and de Kock, two of the form players of the World Cup, coming in with good form I think expectations were pretty high. I think the reality is that we probably lost a couple of key moments in close games early in the tournament. My mind goes back to the Jordan Silk save on the boundary line at the SCG where we might've pinched that game, so a pretty tough start there at the SCG and then the abandoned game in Geelong. I think we got a little bit behind, in a short tournament, early. And we just probably didn't play our best cricket, (we were) probably worrying about not losing rather than actually going out and winning the games with a very talented and high-performing list. We just didn’t get the most out of our elite top-end players, I think."
The high points
"That opening night at the SCG, to see Jake bat so well and Will make fifty and take two-for, there was a real buzz around the group. I remember Nathan Lyon, who was at that game, came up to me afterwards and said 'Don’t worry about that (loss), this team has something really special about the group'."
(Win against Stars) "We really set ourselves for that derby – we always do given the rivalry (but also) given it was Finchy's last game and we had a point to prove late in the season. That derby night was pretty special for our club."
The rise of Jake Fraser-McGurk
"Delighted for him, he's one of the great blokes. He's another one that's desperately passionate about this group and the club to do well, I think that’s the biggest part for him, he was so happy to be contributing to good results … he's a super talent, we've been seeing this for a long time and it hasn't quite translated (to on-field success) so to see 50s and 70s is wonderful. To get Australia selection is pretty cool as well, and he's done well in the ILT20 when he went over there. So yeah, a pretty special talent and a big part of our club."
On dropping captain Nic Maddinson
"He took it really well – (was still) first to every game and last to leave, and was a really important part of our group. But, simply the results weren't where we wanted them to be. A couple of games that he missed out, and hadn't scored at the strike rate we'd expected so he lost his spot in the team. We went for a slightly different makeup after that with the extra bowler later in the season … with the new contracting rules you can only contract a certain amount of players before the embargo starts, and he hasn’t got one of those contracts. (We've done) a bit of a regroup on making sure we've got the best batting lineup for next year."
How the club looks post-Finch and Marsh
"How I'm seeing it is a reset. We've got young guys like Will and Jake who have both penned long-term extensions, are early-to-mid-20s now and both (receiving) national selection so we see them as really core parts of that team that can be consistent performers … we have some really talented young players but still have a heap of experience; Tom Rogers who's in the Australia A setup, Kane Richardson who is on the international circuit and obviously Zampa there as well, so we've still got a heap of experience particularly around the bowling lineup."