Cult hero joins new club in BBL|11 shock
Peter Hatzoglou has a new home for the upcoming Big Bash season after parting ways with the Melbourne Renegades
27 July 2021, 04:28 PM AEST
The Perth Scorchers have snared last year's Big Bash breakout star Peter Hatzoglou on a two-year deal, the club has confirmed.
Perth had been looking to bolster their spin stocks alongside what is a fearsome pace battery, and Hatzoglou's arrival means the club part ways with Fawad Ahmed after two seasons with the club.
Perth coach Adam Voges said he expects the 22-year-old Hatzoglou to form a strong spin partnership with Ashton Agar, who is expected to be available for the entire KFC BBL|11 season with no conflicting limited-overs international matches this summer.
"He gives us the flexibility to bowl spin at different times throughout the innings and will combine with Ash Agar to make a strong spin duo," Scorchers coach Voges said in a statement.
"Peter is a long-term option for us which means sadly we say goodbye to Fawad (Ahmed) who’s been a huge asset to our team over the past two seasons.
"On behalf of the team and the club, we want to thank Fawad for his time at the Scorchers and wish him all the best in the future."
Hatzoglou's move will be a blow to Renegades fans who quickly took to the leg-spinner, who joined the club at the last minute when Cameron Boyce was struck down with illness on the eve of the BBL|10 season.
Hatzoglou's speedy leg-breaks, fiery celebrations and viral cult following made him box office viewing last summer and he was the Renegades' leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps at an economy of 8.27 from 13 matches.
Signed as a local replacement player last summer, Hatzoglou was not offered a new deal and the Renegades have only four available slots in their 18-man roster for BBL|11, with three of them expected to go to international signings.
"Peter was very popular with our fans last season and his performances generated interest from across the competition. We wish him well in Perth and for the future," a Renegades spokesperson said.
Boyce is contracted to return to the Renegades this season, having overcome a rare gastric condition that sidelined him for the entirety of last summer.
The club has also been linked with Nic Maddinson, who is expected to arrive from the Melbourne Stars while cricket.com.au first reported in May Beau Webster was headed for the Stars.
The player swap, still yet to be officially confirmed, will not be a formal trade as both players were off contract.
The Scorchers too are understood to be in the midst of refreshing their list, with seven spots still remaining to be filled on their roster for BBL|11.
Hatzoglou's rise is one of snared opportunities, rising from Melbourne's third grade to be a Big Bash fan favourite last summer, and it catapulted him into domestic cricket with the South Australian Redbacks.
The spinner was completing his finance degree at Melbourne University where he progressed from the third XI to Premier Cricket before the threat of an impending COVID19 shutdown of Victoria's cricket competitions last year brought a snap decision to move to Adelaide.
"In the depth of Melbourne's lockdown I decided to leave Victoria and come over to South Australia just in the hope of playing any cricket really," Hatzoglou said ahead of his Marsh One-Day Cup debut.
"And as it turned out, I found myself in the emerging squad with the Redbacks and then got the call-up to go back to Melbourne and play for the Renegades."
That phone call came on Hatzoglou's 22nd birthday last November from then Renegades coach Michael Klinger, who had been alerted to the energetic leg spinner's potential by coaching colleague Andre Borovec, now an assistant with the Australian team in the West Indies.
Hatzoglou impressed in his initial net sessions and then a couple of practice games in Hobart.
Further fortune shone on him when Afghanistan pair Mohammed Nabi and 15-year-old Noor Ahmad (also a wrist spinner) were forced to miss the first two games due to flight delays and quarantine protocols.
Perth Scorchers BBL|11 squad (so far): Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Aaron Hardie, Peter Hatzoglou, Josh Inglis, Mitch Marsh, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye.
Melbourne Renegades BBL|11 squad (so far): Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch (c), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland.