Renegades, Heat complete squads for BBL|09
Reigning champions Melbourne Renegades add Pakistan duo while Brisbane Heat boost bowling depth for KFC Big Bash League campaign
4 December 2019, 03:54 PM AEST
Pakistan's bowlers took a hammering in the Domain Test Series but the Melbourne Renegades have turned to a duo from the Asian nation to bolster their pace stocks for the KFC BBL.
The Renegades have brought back Pakistan international Usman Shinwari and signed compatriot Faheem Ashraf for the opening stages of the ninth season of the competition to complete the squad list for the defending champions.
The Pakistani pair will play in the Renegades season opener against the Sydney Thunder on December 19 in Geelong, but Shinwari will feature in only the first five matches of the season before English seamer Harry Gurney replaces him for the rest of the tournament.
Ashraf will play in the opening eight matches before Afghanistan allrounder and Renegades cult hero Mohammad Nabi returns to the side.
Ashraf, a right-arm quick and middle-order batsman has been a regular in the wicket-taking column in the Pakistan Super League, topping the charts in 2018 and finishing second in this year's tournament.
Left-arm quick Shinwari topped 150kph and claimed eight wickets in his seven-game stint with the Renegades last season, at an economy rate of 6.14.
New Renegades coach Michael Klinger gave his stamp of approval to the list the club has assembled.
"I’m pleased with how we’re shaping up. Mohammad Nabi and Harry Gurney showed their class last season so we’re glad to have them on board for the second half of the home and away season and hopefully finals,” Klinger said.
"After winning a title, the competition for spots in the XI is going to be fierce and we feel we’ve got plenty of options to cover the challenges that we’ll be confronted with throughout the season.”
The Brisbane Heat were the other BBL club to finalise their list today, with pace bowler Cameron Gannon and spinner Matthew Kuhnemann filling out the roster.
Gannon is currently the leading wicket-taker in the Marsh Sheffield Shield with 23 wickets at 20.69 for the Queensland Bulls, a vein of form that looks set to see him add to his 16 previous appearances for the Heat.
He is set to link up with former Melbourne Renegades teammate James Pattinson, after the Victoria bowler was suspended for a personal slur allegedly directed at Gannon during a recent Shield meeting.
Left-arm, 23-year-old Gold Coast spinner Kuhnemann will play his second season with the Heat after featuring in three games last season.
Heat coach Darren Lehmann said he was delighted with Brisbane's bowling depth a variety, an areas that had been a weak point in previous seasons.
“They are both good lads and will give our squad depth and variety to match up in all conditions during the BBL," Lehmann said.
“Ganno has done wonderfully for the Bulls and has really thrived in that set-up this season, so hopefully this now gives him a great opportunity to execute his skills in the T20 arena again.
“Matty is a very controlled and efficient left-arm spinner and that always works in your favour when putting together a squad I believe. He’s got plenty of ability and will no doubt be keen to take his game to another level during the BBL."
The Heat open their season with the first fixture of the BBL|09 season when they host the Sydney Thunder on December 17 at the Gabba.
Brisbane Heat BBL|09 squad: Chris Lynn (c), Tom Banton (England), AB de Villiers (South Africa), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan), Zahir Khan (Afghanistan), Ben Laughlin, James Pattinson, Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Sam Heazlett, Matthew Renshaw, Josh Lalor, Mitch Swepson, Jack Prestwidge, Mark Steketee, Jimmy Peirson, Marnus Labuschagne, Matt Kuhnemann, Cameron Gannon.
Melbourne Renegades BBL|09 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Faheem Ashraf (Pakistan), Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Tom Cooper, Zak Evans, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Harry Gurney (England), Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Shaun Marsh, Joe Mennie, Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Kane Richardson, Usman Shinwari (Pakistan), Will Sutherland, Beau Webster, Jack Wildermuth.