Webster firms for cross-town BBL switch to Stars
Melbourne Renegades appear set to lose multi-talented allrounder, with rivals in box seat to sign him for BBL11
20 May 2021, 06:48 PM AEST
Australian cricket's Swiss army knife, Beau Webster, looks set to depart the Melbourne Renegades and their cross-town rivals are believed to be in the box seat to sign him.
It is understood the Melbourne Stars have long held an interest in Webster and have now firmed to lure him away from the Renegades, where he is out of contract.
The multi-talented allrounder’s likely exit shapes as a bitter blow for the club that have finished bottom of the ladder in the past two BBL seasons and have been without a coach and a permanent general manager.
With Michael Klinger leaving for a job with New South Wales following a two-season stint with the club, Fox Sports has reported David Saker is the frontrunner to replace him. Saker had a solitary season in charge of the Renegades during BBL|05 before taking up a role as the Australian men's team's bowling coach.
Appointments of both the head coach and general manager could be announced in the coming weeks.
The BBL still has a contract embargo in place, but clubs and players are permitted to discuss potential moves.
Webster had a breakout BBL|09 campaign, in which he was among the top 10 leading batters in the tournament with 425 runs at 42.50.
While he failed to reach those same heights last summer, managing 160 runs in 10 innings at 23, the two-metre tall Tasmanian’s unique ability to bowl both off-spin and medium pace, his skills as a middle-order batter and a highly-rated fielder make him an strong recruit with potential to improve.
Webster finished BBL|09 batting in the Renegades' top four but only featured there once last season, instead being used between 5-7.
The Renegades won just seven of 28 games during those two seasons.
Webster has just one BBL wicket to his name but the development of his seam bowling proved a success in the Marsh Sheffield Shield, where he took 17 wickets for the Tigers in his first season coming off the long run.
His exit from the Renegades would further accentuate a curious age divide in their playing roster, which is expected to remain much the same given most players are on multi-year deals.
Captain Aaron Finch (34 years old) is among a considerable group of players under contract aged 30 or older, including Shaun Marsh, Kane Richardson, Josh Lalor, Cameron Boyce and James Pattinson.
Sam Harper (24) and Jack Prestwidge (23) are then the oldest of a large contingent of young players on their books, with Will Sutherland, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Zak Evans, Mitch Perry and Mackenzie Harvey all 21 or younger.
If Webster is to leave, it would mean 28-year-old Marcus Harris, who has been in and out of the Gades' team and has spent large chunks of recent seasons away with the Test side, would be the only player aged between 25 and 30.
The Renegades have scope to add to their squad and could lay claim to the No.1 pick in the BBL's mooted overseas player draft should it adopt the system used by the Australian Football League where the bottom team from the previous season receives the first selection.
Like the Renegades, the Stars are also coming off a disappointing tournament, missing the finals for just the second time in 10 seasons.
The club has struggled to find consistent contributors with the bat outside of star men Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, and were hamstrung last season when Jonny Bairstow was forced to pull out on the eve of his planned stint.
The addition of Webster, following in the footsteps of Maxwell who left the Renegades for the Stars after the BBL's inaugural season, could help bolster their middle order.