The Big Bash League (BBL), after its eight successful seasons, would be back for its ninth season from the 17th of December. Melbourne Renegades are the defending champions, having won their first title in the last season by beating Melbourne Stars by 13 runs. The Australian T20 carnival originated in the year 2011-12, dissolving the previous system of having six state-based teams. Instead, it was revolutionized to have eight-city based franchises.
Not only the BBL but franchise cricket as a whole has handed opportunities to relatively lesser-known faces ever since its inception. Several young guns or new faces have been impactful enough over the years that they have earned an international cap through their performances in this T20 blockbuster. The forthcoming season of the extravaganza would be no different as several franchises have roped in some marginally known faces who could bring a lot on the table.
We take a look at five lesser-known famous who could create surprises with their performances:
Former Australian Test cricketer Kerry O’Keefe spoke highly of leg-spin bowler Tanveer Sangha by naming him as one of the spinners in the Australian circuit to watch out for. O’ Keefe described him as “He’s in the Australian under-19s, fizzes it, bowls it into the shoebox five or six out of six and he’s temperamentally strong”.
The 18-year old has been making rapid strides in Sydney Grade Cricket, picking up figures of 6-33 against the University of NSW in only his second first-grade match. He followed it up with 5-70 against Sutherland. At Sydney Thunder, he will join the likes of other young guns in Chris Green and Arjun Nair and could prove as real surprise package for an inexperienced side.
With the team playing its most of the matches at the SCG where the ball is expected to turn, Sangha, if given a chance, will hope to make an impact.
Pat Brown’s inclusion in the England T20 team for the New Zealand tour came along with Tom Banton, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson, and Lewis Gregory. The 21-year old’s selection arrived on the back of exquisite performances in the T20 Vitality Blast in which he took 31 wickets in 2018 and 17 scalps in 2019.
Although, in four T20 internationals, the Worcestershire seamer has taken only four wickets; however, his reputation is that of being one of the best death bowlers. Prior to this, Brown also featured for Karnataka Tuskers in the Abu Dhabi T10 League where he snapped three wickets in four games.
Pat Brown is understood to be available for Melbourne Stars after Dale Steyn‘s stint of six matches with the franchise. He is likely to make his BBL debut against Sydney Thunder on 8th of January. Being a handy death bowler, the Englishman could prove to be very useful against some swashbuckling batsmen.
Richard Gleeson was named as the replacement player for Usman Shinwari after the latter opted out of the tournament due to international commitments. The 32-year old quick was part of the Northamptonshire County Cricket Club that clinched the Natwest T20 Trophy in 2016. He claimed 14 wickets in 10 games at an average of just 16.
He made a move to Lancashire later on and has an economy rate of 7.47 for both the teams in the English domestic T20 competition. Melbourne Renegades coach Michael Klinger endorsed his selection by saying that his genuine pace along with pitching the ball frequently in areas that batsmen perceive as difficult ones, makes it tough to get past him.
He further said that his brilliance in both powerplay and death overs has resulted in him being one of the skilled T20 bowlers. His reputation as a genuine pace bowler could be beneficial in the fast and bouncy Australian decks. The Englishman would be available for the Renegades for their first eight games before Mohammad Nabi gets ready for the franchise for the second half.
Qais Ahmad is yet another spinner among the wealth of spin bowlers that Afghanistan have produced over the years. The 19-year old featured for Hobart Hurricanes the previous time and picked up seven wickets in only three matches at an average of 12.71.
The leggie later invaded the Carribean shores later on in the Carribean Premier League (CPL). He created an impact for the Guyana Amazon Warriors by snaring seven scalps in three games at an average of 11.71. The Afghan mystery spinner also impressed at the T10 league in Abu Dhabi, finishing third in the wicket-taking list.
Qais Ahmed would again turn out for Hobart Hurricanes in the upcoming season, and like his countrymen in the BBL, the teen spin bowler could make a huge impact again.
Perth Scorchers may have pulled off one of the best signings of the season by roping in the English all-rounder Liam Livingstone. The Englishman has built his reputation as one of the exciting all-rounders, capable of playing as a floater batsman in the line-up and still get the runs through his hard-hitting ability.
The 26-year old featured in the latest season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Rajasthan Royals, having played as an opening batsman and striking at 145.83. Playing for Lancashire Lightning in the T20 Vitality Blast, Livingstone scored 273 runs and picked up 14 wickets off his leg-spin bowling.
The Englishman, with his all-round skills, is an invaluable addition to a franchise which has seen the departure of stalwarts like Michael Klinger, Hilton Cartwright, Shaun Marsh, and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Liam Livingstone will join the likes of the key players like Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Agar, and Jhye Richardson to propel the Scorchers to their fourth title.
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