BBL 2021-2022 Team Status
Adelaide Strikers have won the BBL just once — in the 2017-18 season. Last year, they were a team that did just enough to make the playoffs but not enough to truly contend. A mere 5/10 team, the Strikers finished the round-robin stage right in the middle (5th spot in eight-team division). They somehow sneaked into the playoffs but got bounced in the very first game.
This year, the Strikers have re-signed several key players. Veteran pacer Peter Siddle is signed up for another year, while prolific scorer Jake Weatherald has inked a long-term deal. Matt Short and Ryan Gibson have new contracts as well, but the news of the off-season was the successful retention of Afghan spin wizard Rashid Khan. Fellow spinner Fawad Ahmed is also on the roster, while George Garton has been imported from England. Michael Neser, however, has left Adelaide for Brisbane.
Brisbane Heat’s story is not very different than Adelaide Strikers’. They also have a single BBL triumph, which came in the 2012-13 season and since then they’ve been waiting to add to their trophy cabinet. Last season, they made the playoffs and cleared the first hurdle, beating none other than Adelaide in the Eliminator game before being eliminated themselves before taking down Sydney Thunder in the Knockout game. With just one more win left between them and a place in the final, they fell to Perth Scorchers.
This year, the Heat re-signed rising pacer Xavier Bartlett, star batsman Marnus Labuschagne, spin wizard Mujeeb Ur Rahman and allrounder Jack Wildermuth. English duo Tom Abell and Ben Duckett are also in the bag but their fellow Englishman Tom Banton has been allowed to miss the tournament on his request. Meanwhile, Michael Neser has returned from Adelaide, whereas there has also been a leadership change, with Jimmy Peirson replacing Chris Lynn. Connor Sully has also found a place on the roster.
Sydney Sixers are the hottest team in the BBL right now. They won the inaugural BBL way back in 2011-12 season, but had to wait eight long years for their next title, during which time they were the losing finalists on two occasions. But after recapturing the title in 2019-20 season, they did it again last year as well, which makes them the league’s two-time defending champions going for a first-ever three-peat.
During the offseason, they’ve retained much of their title-winning core by re-signing experienced seamer Jackson Bird, English star James Vince, Windies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite, spinner Stephen O’Keefe, captain Moises Henriques and key fast bowler Ben Dwarshuis.
The lesser of the two Sydney sides, the Thunder do their best to catch up to the Sixers but just can’t. They made the final just once, in 2015-16, and won the title but have had mixed form since then. Last year, they finished third in the round-robin stages and were eliminated in the knockout game of the playoffs, which was a step earlier than their challenger game elimination the year prior.
To take that next leap and make the final again, the Thunder have parted ways with their captain Callum Ferguson as well as coach Shane Bond, the latter of whom has been replaced by Trevor Bayliss and former by Usman Khawaja. Fast bowler Brendan Doggett, young talents Ollie Davies and Baxter Holt, star batter Alex Hales, and exciting hitter Jason Sangha have all been re-signed while Sam Billings has travelled across the Sydney divide to join the Thunder. Also on board is England pace merchant Saqib Mahmood.
Like Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers are the Big Bash League’s other perennial contenders, and that has seen them clinch three titles and just as many runners-up finishes. Their best stretch was between 2013 and 2017 when they won three of the four titles and were simply unstoppable at times. They made the final last year where they were beaten by the Sixers.
During the off-season, they re-signed batting veteran Colin Munro as well as key quartet of Jason Behrendorff, Josh Inglis, Ashton Turner and Andrew Tye. Tearaway pacer Lance Morris joined from Melbourne Stars, while spinner Peter Hatzoglou replaced Fawad Ahmed. England’s Laurie Evans and Brydon Carse were signed but only the former will be in action as the latter was ruled out due to a knee injury.
Hobart Hurricanes are one of just two sides left in the league that have never won a BBL title. The Hurricanes came close twice, once in the 2013-14 season and then in the 2017-18 season but lost in the final both of those times. They had a lackluster campaign last year but still should have made the playoffs as they finished the round-robin stage level with the Strikers on 28 points but were edged out on the smallest of net run rate differences.
During the off-season, the Canes had Ben McDermott, Nathan Ellis and captain Matthew Wade’s contracts extended. Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichhane was also re-signed and so was Caleb Jewell. They also brought back Tom Rogers from the Sixers, while importing England’s Harry Brook and signing Josh Kann.
Melbourne Stars are the other BBL side that has never won a league title, even though they came close and lost in the final thrice. Last season was tough for both the Melbourne sides, with neither making the playoffs. But such a showing was harder to digest for the Stars, who had made the finals the previous two seasons and expected another year of contention but all they got was a seventh-place finish in an eight-team league.
Ahead of BBL 11, the Stars have added experienced batter Joe Burns, English batter/wicketkeeper Joe Clarke and Afghanistan international Qais Ahmad to their roster, while re-signing left arm pace bowler Sam Rainbird, batter Nick Larkin, young quick Liam Hatcher, young gun Sam Elliott and allrounder Hilton Cartwright.
2018-19 champs Melbourne Renegades were the league’s worst team last season, winning just four of their 14 matches and finishing at the bottom. It was a little improvement on their performance of the season before when they had again finished dead last.
To address their alarming slide, the Renegades have made a number of changes, including the replacement of coaches. To their roster, they have signed batter Nic Maddinson from the other Melbourne side and instantly made him the captain. Afghan spin bowler Zahir Khan is on board and so is the first Indian player to play BBL, Unmukt Chand. England fast bowler Reece Topley has also been brought in, while extensions have been granted to star batter Sam Harper, pacer Kane Richardson and Mohammad Nabi.