England stars headline BBL|11 international signings
With just seven sleeps to go until the tournament gets underway, we take a look at all the overseas players set to light up the summer
28 November 2021, 09:20 PM AEST
The men's KFC Big Bash League gets underway in just a weeks’ time with 22 international stars so far inking deals to light up this summer's KFC BBL|11.
An influx of English players headlines this season's overseas signings with at least 14 players from the Old Dart set to be a part of the tournament as a host of young up-and-comers join experienced BBL campaigners in James Vince, Alex Hales and Chris Jordan.
The BBL begins on Sunday December 5 when defending champions, the Sydney Sixers, featuring England T20 World Cup squad members Vince, Tom Curran and Jordan, take on a formidable Melbourne Stars outfit boasting three of Australia's T20 World Cup winners, Afghanistan's Qais Ahmad and English wicketkeeper-batter Joe Clarke.
Here are this season's BBL|11 imports and their potential impact on the competition:
Alex Hales – Sydney Thunder
The leading run scorer in last summer's competition returns for sixth season in the BBL. The hard-hitting right-hander is coming off an excellent English summer where he smacked 482 runs at a strike rate of 178 in England's domestic T20 competition and 185 runs at a strike rate of 132 in the first season of The Hundred. The Thunder will be hoping Hales can get them off to a flyer in the powerplay, but the 32-year-old may need to shoulder more of the workload this season with his opening partner Usman Khawaja set to miss a few games after he was elevated to Australia's Ashes squad.
Rashid Khan – Adelaide Strikers
Back for a fifth season, the Afghan spinner has become one of the characters of the BBL who plays with a smile on his face and excites fan with his passionate wicket celebrations. The fast leg-break and googly bowler has an ability to turn games in an instant and the Strikers will be hoping he can gain the upper hand on the opposition through the middle-overs. He's also a handy lower order hitter that can clear the fence with ease. Rashid arrives at the BBL following a strong T20 World Cup where he took eight wickets in five games. If he has a good tournament, the Strikers will be right in the mix.
James Vince – Sydney Sixers
England batter James Vince has become a crucial cog in the line-up of the Sydney Sixers' back-to-back winning titles. The 30-year-old anchors the innings at the top of the order and was second only to Hales on the highest run scorers list in BBL|10. When Vince gets in, he tends to go large – he scored four fifties in last summer's competition, including two 90s in the finals. The right-hander was brought into England's T20 World Cup squad as cover for injured opener Jason Roy after a stellar The Hundred campaign that netted 229 runs at a strike rate of 130, along with 373 runs in England’s domestic T20 competition.
Harry Brook – Hobart Hurricanes
Young Yorkshireman Harry Brook arrives for his first BBL season with big wraps – the 22-year-old announced himself as a player of the future in England where he averaged 55 at a strike rate of 163 in their T20 competition despite batting in the middle-order. He then backed it up this year with 486 runs at 149 strike rate to finish fourth on the top scorers list. Brook only failed to pass 20 in three of his 18 innings across both that competition and The Hundred during the English summer. Expect big things from the right-hander when he lands at the Hurricanes for their third game of the season after he represents the England Lions in a tour match against Australia A in Brisbane from December 9-12.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman – Brisbane Heat
The 20-year-old Afghanistan finger spinner has quickly become some of the hottest property in international T20 cricket after bursting onto the scene at just 16 years of age. Mujeeb and countryman Rashid Khan bamboozled Scotland in the recent T20 World Cup, with the pair combining for 9-29 to roll the Scots for a paltry 60 all out. Mujeeb took five wickets in a span of 16 balls in a devastating display of spin bowling. It will be Mujeeb's fourth season with the Heat who will be hoping he can replicate last year's form that saw him claim 14 wickets from just eight games with an impressive economy rate of 6.27.
Chris Jordan – Sydney Sixers
England fast bowler Chris Jordan has joined the Sydney Sixers as a replacement for injured West Indian star Carlos Brathwaite. The experienced right-armer, who has played all three formats for his country, most recently played all six games for England at the T20 World Cup in the UAE, taking six wickets, including 3-17 in the pool game against eventual champions Australia. The 33-year-old is no stranger to the BBL, have played previously for the Adelaide Strikers, Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers, and is considered one of the best fielders in world cricket. Jordan's contract with the Sixers is for five games, beginning with the team’s season opener.
Mohammad Nabi – Melbourne Renegades
The veteran returns to the Renegades for a fifth season and could be in line for additional responsibilities in the first few games with skipper Nic Maddinson away on Australia A duties and T20 World Cup winning captain Aaron Finch out injured. The Renegades will be hoping the wily off-spin bowler and power middle-order batter can help lift them off the bottom of the table and into finals contention in BBL|11. The allrounder took just four wickets last summer but the 36-year-old will look to replicate some of his World Cup form that saw him hit three scores in the 30s from the middle-order.
Laurie Evans – Perth Scorchers
The little-known Englishman is a veteran of the international T20 circuit having played in the Caribbean, Bangladesh and Pakistan leagues. The middle-order power hitter has 184 T20 career matches to his name with an impressive strike rate of 133. The 34-year-old struck three half-centuries for Surrey earlier this year and finished the competition with 298 runs. With the Scorchers’ depth set to be tested due to national squad commitments, the right-hander could be a crucial inclusion in the middle-order alongside skipper Ashton Turner.
Colin Munro – Perth Scorchers
The left-handed New Zealander is the second international signing on Perth's books and returns for a second consecutive season with the Scorchers. The powerful ball striker was once ranked as the world's best T20 batter but has recently fallen out of favour with national selectors. But that's set to be the Scorchers gain with Munro likely to be available for the entire BBL season. Last year he was named in the team of the tournament with his team-leading 443 runs helping the Scorchers reach the final.
Sam Billings – Sydney Thunder
The 30-year-old wicketkeeper-batter was recalled to England's side for their T20 World Cup semi-final after an injury to Roy but didn't get a bat as the pre-tournament favourites were bundled out in the semi-final. Billings has been in and out of England's limited overs teams across his career but arrives in Australia hoping to replicate some of his form from last summer when he hit 260 runs at a strike rate of 142 with a high score of 83 to help the Thunder finish third on the BBL|10 table.
Unmukt Chand – Melbourne Renegades
Top order batter Unmukt Chand is a ground-breaking signing as he will become the first Indian men's cricketer to feature in the BBL. The former India A and India U19 captain arrives having represented three IPL franchises across his career – Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. His domestic career has spanned more than a decade and includes 67 first-class matches. The 28-year-old will be available for the Renegades for the entire BBL season.
Ben Duckett – Brisbane Heat
The left-handed top order batter will make his debut in the BBL this summer after an impressive Hundred campaign where he was the second-leading scorer with 232 runs. His T20 tournament in England's domestic league was also strong, netting him 383 runs at a strike rate of 158 for Nottinghamshire. The 27-year-old has played Test, ODI and T20I cricket for England throughout his career but last played for the national side in May 2019. Duckett was a member of England's last Ashes squad to tour Australia in 2017-18.
George Garton – Adelaide Strikers
George Garton will be another Englishman making his maiden appearance in the BBL this summer with the left-arm speedster arriving on the back of a stint with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. The 24-year-old helped the Southern Brave to the inaugural Hundred title in August, finishing the tournament with 10 wickets.
Tom Abell – Brisbane Heat
Tom Abell was added to the Heat's squad in October to replace his county teammate Tom Banton, who opted not to take up his BBL contract. The 27-year-old captained Somerset to the final of their domestic T20 competition in September, playing crucial knocks of 78 not out from 45 balls in the quarter-final and 50 in the semi-final.
Sandeep Lamichhane – Hobart Hurricanes
The leg-spinner from Nepal has signed on for a second season with the Hurricanes in BBL|11. It will be the 21-year-old's fourth season in the Big Bash after a previous stint with the Melbourne Stars. He has a wide array of deliveries in his arsenal and has collected 34 BBL wickets to date in 29 matches at an impressive economy rate of 7.23. He returns to the BBL after playing in his home tournament, the Everest Premier League, last month.
Jordan Thompson – Hobart Hurricanes
Another little-known English allrounder who will be making his first appearance in the Big Bash. The 25-year-old combined with fellow Hurricanes recruit Brook earlier this year for a record sixth-wicket stand of 141 in a T20 match for Yorkshire.
Zahir Khan – Melbourne Renegades
Afghan spinner Zahir Khan has defected to the Renegades from crosstown rivals Melbourne Stars for BBL|11. The emerging left-arm wrist spinner has signed on for the duration of the tournament. The 22-year-old has claimed 14 BBL wickets in 16 games, with an impressive economy rate of 6.76, during stints with the Stars and Brisbane Heat over the past two seasons.
Reece Topley – Melbourne Renegades
Topley is the fourth overseas signing on the Renegades’ books this year, though under league rules only three can be in the 18-player squad at any one time. The 27-year-old left-arm seamer arrives in Melbourne after playing with the Oval Invincibles in The Hundred. Topley recently opened the bowling for England in two ODIs against India in March.
Qais Ahmad – Melbourne Stars
The 21-year-old is another Afghan spinner signed for this year's BBL and returns to the competition for his third season after stints with the Hurricanes in BBL|08 and BBL|09. The leg-spinner took 19 wickets in 18 matches across those two campaigns and arrives in Melbourne after appearances with Kent and Welsh Fire in the UK. Qais has appeared for Afghanistan at Test and T20I level and is in demand in T20 competitions worldwide, with experience in the Caribbean, Pakistan and Sri Lankan leagues.
Joe Clarke – Melbourne Stars
English wicketkeeper-batter Joe Clarke is yet to play for his country but has the experience of nearly 100 T20 matches, including three games for the Scorchers in BBL|10. In June this year, the Nottinghamshire batter belted 136 off 95 deliveries in a T20 match against Northamptonshire.
Tom Curran – Sydney Sixers
Experienced English fast bowling allrounder Tom Curran returns for his third BBL season after an impressive stint with the Oval Invincibles in The Hundred that saw him finish as the seventh leading wicket taker. The 26-year-old was a member of England's T20 World Cup squad but wasn't required in the starting XI throughout the tournament. Curran was the Sixers’ leading wicket taker in BBL|09 with 22 scalps in the first of their back-to-back title seasons.
Saqib Mahmood – Sydney Thunder
Rising English paceman Saqib Mahmood joins countrymen Alex Hales and Sam Billings at the Thunder. The 24-year-old can hit speeds around the 145kph mark and helped a second-string England ODI side to a series whitewash over Pakistan in July when he was named player of the series with nine wickets at 13.66.