BBL Fantasy: Eight batting bargains
Struggling to squeeze everyone inside your Fantasy budget? Check out these options for under $50,000
9 December 2016, 11:45 AM AEST
Ashton Agar (Scorchers) $49,800
Scorchers coach Justin Langer might be prone to the odd offering of hyperbole but when he says Agar swings like Adam Gilchrist, you can see it. The lithe leftie is a gifted stroke-maker who highlighted his value in last year's tournament with a devastating 68 from just 34 balls against eventual champions Sydney Thunder. The 23-year-old clears the pickets with ease, is a wonderful catcher, and with Brad Hogg no longer a Scorcher, he'll likely be called upon to send down his left-arm orthodox tweakers regularly.
Hilton Cartwright (Scorchers) $20,000
Agar benefited from Langer's youth policy last season Hilton Cartwright could do likewise in BBL|06. An Australia A century-maker in the 'off-season' and a bolter for Australia's ODI squad against the Black Caps this month, Cartwright is a stocky allrounder who hits the ball as far as just about anyone and delivers reliable fast-mediums. A price tag of $20k is owing to the fact that he wasn't a part of the action last season but savvy punters will see an absolute steal for this 24-year-old who is averaging 45 with the bat in first-class cricket and is tipped for higher honours sooner rather than later.
Ryan Gibson (Thunder) $20,000
Another up-and-comer at a baseline price, anyone who kept an eye on the Matador One-Day Cup will see Gibson for the bargain he is. Gibson lit that tournament up with a century against Queensland and 97 against the Blues to ensure the young CA XI punched hard against the established state teams. Since, he's played three Sheffield Shield matches for NSW and posted an unbeaten maiden 50. He looks likely to slot into a Thunder middle-order now lacking the presence of Jacques Kallis.
Daniel Hughes (Sixers) $30,000
Hughes has been in hot form since the back-end of last Shield season, when he notched a couple of hundreds and re-established himself as a genuine first-class cricketer after a long period of injuries. The top-order leftie has been on the books at both Sydney franchises in the past without making a dent, but after a breakout Matador Cup campaign, including a maiden List A century, he looks well placed to make consistent runs in magenta this time around.
Marnus Labuschagne (Heat) $30,000
The kid who took a screamer as a sub fielder in a Gabba Test a few years back is now a batting force of his own, and the Heat were quick to snap him up after he was named Player of the Tournament in October's Matador One-Day Cup. Confident and versatile, Labuschagne won't need any time to find his feet in the BBL – he's in fine form and looks equipped to revel in both the format and the atmosphere. He's also a gun fielder, a back-up wicketkeeper, and a handy leg-spinner or medium-pacer … the full package!
Nic Maddinson (Sixers) $44,400
Maddinson has built a reputation as a short-format specialist and he's seriously explosive when he's in the mood. The left-hander was hot and cold for the Sixers last summer but one senses he'll be keen to make runs at every opportunity in order to nail down that Test spot. He'll likely be unavailable for two Tests over the Christmas-New Year's period but beyond that, you should consider, because you'll be hard-pressed finding a batsman with a better BBL record at that price.
Alex Ross (Heat) $42,500
Ross was a rock for the Strikers last summer and his switch from blue to teal is unlikely to effect the Sweepologist's output. The Heat were crying out for a steady middle-order influence and they look to have landed their man in the 24-year-old right-hander. Ross has been warming up with Brisbane Premier Cricket club Valleys and looks likely to feature as a key player in the Heat's batting line-up. Expect plenty of runs and plenty of Fantasy points!
Jake Weatherald (Strikers) $20,000
Weatherald shot to prominence with a pair of half-centuries for the Redbacks last Shield season, and has continued his impressive Shield form this summer, highlighted by a maiden first-class hundred. He posted an entertaining 141 against the CA XI in the Matador Cup in October and looks likely to be a fresh face in the Strikers batting order this time around, possibly putting pressure on veteran opener Tim Ludeman. The 22-year-old Darwin product is a smart Fantasy pick-up and will be overlooked by plenty.