Eight underrated players to watch in WBBL|06
Former Australia and Stars leg-spinner Kristen Beams reveals her domestic players to watch this Women's Big Bash League season
One thing we know for certain leading in to WBBL|06 is no team is short on international stars; every team is blessed with big names who are proven performers internationally.
Pre-COVID we saw them dancing with Katy Perry and dominating on the biggest stage, now we are seeing them sinking putts and bowling in the confines of their hotel quarantine.
It’s very easy to focus on these big-name players when talking about who will take out WBBL|06.
But list managers know that the key to success lies in putting together the best domestic players who can play key roles in teams.
So, I’d like to shine the spotlight on some of the players who I think will overshadow some of our international stars this season.
When talking about the Adelaide Strikers you would be hard pressed to not mention the name Sarah Coyte.
The medium pacer is one of the most consistent bowlers in the competition, someone who bowls stump to stump in each phase of the game and always gets thrown the ball in the big moments by the skipper.
She is a World Cup winner, one of the best fielders in the competition and no doubt commands plenty of attention in opposition team meetings as they search for ways to counter her yorker execution.
The player who I really enjoyed watching in WBBL|05 and hated bowling to was Laura Kimmince (nee Harris) from the Brisbane Heat.
Her sister Grace gets plenty of mic time while her older sister tends to slip under the radar, but Laura is a clean striker of the ball who plays without fear, one of the keys to success in short format cricket.
With Beth Mooney headed to the Scorchers this season, I think it’s a great opportunity for Laura to lead the Heat batting line up this season.
I didn’t want to leave it too long before mentioning a spinner and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sasha Moloney can do for the Hurricanes this season.
She is a player who has really evolved her game over the past few seasons to become a genuine allrounder.
She will complement their bowling attack which has the likes of pace bowlers Belinda Vakarewa and Nicola Carey, as well as being one of the key fielders and finishers at the back end of the Hurricanes innings.
I never apologise about being biased and I’m not going to start now when I say that Molly Strano is key to the Renegades going one better this season.
No one has taken more wickets than Strano in the WBBL, she swings the ball away from the right hander early and this no doubt annoys any pace bowler given she is bowling off breaks!
She brings the fun to every team she plays with, as well as competitiveness and her desire to have the ball in her hand.
I think the technical term is that she is a ‘captain’s dream’.
Given we have just been talking about spinners, it’s time to talk about the spinners’ best mate in the team ….. The wicketkeeper.
Spinners are only as good as their keepers’ hands and Nicole Faltum will be key for the Stars spinners (and pace bowlers) in WBBL|06.
It is easy to forget how young Faltum is, as she drives the Stars fielding effort and leads in everything she does.
She will push herself higher and higher in the Stars batting line-up and that will be a great headache for new coach Trent Woodhill and skipper Meg Lanning.
On to one of the most underrated players in the competition, Chloe Piparo from the Perth Scorchers.
As a middle-order batter in a top-heavy batting line-up, she will give the likes of Beth Mooney, Sophie Devine and Amy Jones the chance to play with plenty of freedom knowing she can get the job done in the middle.
She gets better and better every season; I’m looking forward to seeing some dynamic cameo innings for the Scorchers.
One of my favourite players and people in the WBBL is Sarah Aley from the Sydney Sixers.
They say you can’t buy experience off the shelf, and Aley proves time and time again that this is true.
One of the great competitors and the type of player who just gets the job done.
The medium pacer is incredibly consistent allowing bowlers to attack from the other end and will again be critical to their success.
I’ll be riding every fist pump and wicket celebration this year watching you Mittsy!
To round out my list I’ve chosen a former Sixers player in Lauren Smith who has headed to cross-town rivals the Thunder.
She played some smaller roles for the Sixers in previous seasons with good success and now will get her opportunity to play a leading role in a new colour.
I definitely have her on my list of players I’d like to play with, and not against, as she brings the energy and competitiveness which will be highly valued at the Thunder.
I could have added many more players to this list – and that’s what makes the WBBL such a great competition.
Game one isn’t far away and I’m predicting that this will be the most even competition we have seen, and I can’t wait to see who dominates!