It’s been a busy day for clubs in the KFC T20 Big Bash League as they finalise their squads just 13 days out from the tournament opener on December 18.
BBL|04 begins at the Adelaide Oval on a Thursday night, with the Strikers taking on the Melbourne Stars to kick-start a period of 35 matches in 41 days which will culminate in the final at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on January 28.
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Active in the player market today have been the Melbourne Renegades, Sydney Thunder, Perth Scorchers and Brisbane Heat.
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The red half of Melbourne secured the services of Jamaican powerhouse allrounder Andre Russell to round out an impressive looking squad for the season ahead. Russell joins fellow allrounders Dwayne Bravo and Jesse Ryder at Etihad Stadium to add a real sense of international flair to a team that failed to make the finals in BBL|03.
Thunder Nation continued its off-season signing spree, with former Test allrounder Andrew McDonald and English keeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter adding their names to round out an extremely impressive roster.
Craig Kieswetter (left) and Andrew McDonald will add valuable experience to the Thunder squad // Getty Images
The experienced pair join Proteas legend Jacques Kallis, young tearaway Pat Cummins, Queensland veteran keeper Chris Hartley, and former Hurricane Aiden Blizzard in a new-look squad for the Western Sydney based franchise.
The Scorchers today announced the twin signing of WA opening batsman Marcus Harris and paceman Simon Mackin to round out the reigning champions’ squad.
Harris and Mackin, both West Australians and both 22, add further depth to a squad that has lost Simon Katich, Craig Simmons and Michael Beer from BBL|03, but picked up England opener Michael Carberry, fellow opener Michael Klinger and young spinner James Muirhead.
“It’s great to add two more home-grown WA boys to the Scorchers squad and I’m sure they’ll make their mark in BBL|04 and beyond,” said Perth coach Justin Langer.
“This is a big opportunity for Marcus and Simon and a great reward for their recent performances.”
WA pair Simon Mackin (left) and Marcus Harris // Perthscorchers.com.au
Brisbane added development rookie James Bazley to their books today, after the young allrounder from the Sunshine Coast made a match-winning century last month to lift his team into the KFC T20 Challenge Final.
Heat coach Stuart Law is a Bazley fan and admitted his unbeaten 101 off just 49 balls last month to lift his T20 Challenge team the Blaze into a Gabba decider had convinced him to make the right-handed batsman and medium-fast paceman a priority under the BBL rookie system.
“He did well for Queensland in the pre-season when he scored a very handy 90 from 56 balls against Ireland in one of their tour games and his knock last month in the T20 Challenge was something special,” Law said.
“Training and being around experienced blokes like ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, Daniel Vettori, Samuel Badree and Dan Christian will help him significantly with his progress, and will help him build on what he is learning with the Bulls.”