In the last decade or so, T-20 leagues have pooped up across the globe. And, with that has come an excellent opportunity for un-recognised youngsters. The opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a global audience and make it to their respective national squads.
Be it the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent or down under, T20 leagues have led to the discoveries of some of biggest names in world cricket today. The Big Bash League played in Australia has also been a launchpad for many. It has been shedding light on those ‘talented lads’ as the Aussies like to call them.
And, has made them come into the national set-up in no time. This season’s player roster too has some names that have been doing well and are in strong contention for a spot in the national squad. Also, with the T20 World Cup coming closer with each passing day, the selectors will definitely be on the hunt to find a backup for their stars or a trump card, upon whose mystery factor they can count on.
So, here’s a list of five such players whose performance in this season of the BBL can prove to be their ticket to the Australian T20 team’s dressing room:
Hailing from Tasmania, Riley Meridith is one such name, on which selectors will have their eyes pinned on. Meridith made his BBL debut in the 2017-18 season playing for the Hobart Hurricanes. With an ability to keep the clock speeds ticking above 140 kmph consistently, Riley makes a strong case for himself. He has been doing well in the Aussie domestic circuit and has been a regular feature in his state’s domestic side. But, injuries have played a spoilsport for him.
Due to his injury problems, he had to stay out of action for about two years. He was finally able to make his domestic debut in 2017 and since then there has been no looking back for him. In his two and a half year-long career, he has represented the Hobart Hurricanes and his home state Tasmania on 50 occasions altogether and has done well in most of them.
In the 63 innings he has bowled in so far, Meridith has picked up 93 wickets and has credited to his name, four 4 wicket hauls and one 5 wicket haul. With all the stats, form and strength baking him up, he will be looking to replicate some his best performances in this season of the BBL and make his case of being picked up in the Australian T20 team a whole lot stronger.
Son of a banana farmer, a major in Business from Australia University, Ben Dunk is that player who has done it all. His days in the field with his dad gave him the built and strength required to smash the ball and the technical training was provided to him by a series of great coaches, making Dunk a strong contender for the Aussie side. Having gone through, what can best be described as a tumultuous run in cricket, Ben Dunk has held on and on.
He made his debut for the Australian side in 2014 and got a chance to prove himself in five matches over a period of three years, but he failed. Playing at the highest level, he managed to score 99 runs at an average of 19.8. But, on the flip-side, he has been doing great in the T-20 leagues across the globe.
Taking huge steps in the world of T-20 cricket, proving himself to be a specialist of the format, again and again, he has been signed by the Mumbai Indians in the IPL and the Antigua Hawksbills. He also possesses a good set of hands behind the stumps and is an efficient keeper too.
In the recently concluded Mzansi Super League held in South Africa, he performed really well, getting past the 50 run mark thrice. This season, signed by the Melbourne Stars, he will look to give his best and take his side past the finish line and get back into the national squad again and this time, for a longer period than before.
Having a unique mix of the ability to hit the ball when required to and be a miser in giving away runs with the ball in hand, Chris Green is that kind of a player that every T20 side will want. And, it’s more than obvious that his home country’s side will also be looking closely at his performance in the premier T20 tournament held down under. He will be looking to prove his case in front of the home crowd the same way he has been doing in front of the crowds in Canada, Pakistan and the Middle East.
Green is that kind of a cricketer, who from the very beginning has focussed more on playing the shortest format of the game. He has been an active part of leagues across the globe and has proven to be one of the best buys for every franchise he has played for.
With the ball in hand, 249 overs and has picked up 62 wickets, maintained an average of 27.00, an economy of 6.72 and has best figures of 4 wickets for a mere 14 runs. Looking at his impressive performances as an all-round player, he was handed a un-precedented six-year contract by the Sydney Thunder franchise of the BBL.
The 17-year-old prodigy from New South Wales, Jason Sangha’s name is on the tips of every cricket pundit’s tongue. Haile to be the next big thing in Australian Cricket, Sangha has been proving the speculations right. He emerged as the highest run-scorer of the 2018 ICC Under 19 World Cup, and also captained his side in the tournament.
Aussie greats, like Greg Chappell, have shelled out a lot of praise for this young man and have even gone ahead and called him a gifted player. At just 20 years of age, he has two centuries to his name in first-class cricket, has hit a handful of runs in T-20s and has been a handy bowler at the first-class level too. The only thing that is left for him is a call-up for the senior side. And, to be honest, that does not look far away.
With a prolific debut season backing his confidence and skills on the rise, he will surely look to put his best foot forward this season and make it big. If he succeeds in doing so, a national call-up will not be a far away for the young man whose career has been on a meteoric rise.
Another studious addition to the list, Sam Harper has been a learner, be it on the academic side of things or the cricketing side. A handy wicket-keeper and a great swinger of the willow, Harper has been a front runner of the rat race in the Australian domestic circuit to find a player who can play consistently in all three formats. In the absence of Peter Handscomb in the 2016 season of the BBL, he was the regular keeper for his side in the BBL.
He also has a proven record for his keeping skills. He is the holder of the record for most dismissals by a keeper in Sheffield Shield. Adding to this, he is also a clean hitter of the cricket ball. In the 20 matches he has played in the Big Bash League so far, he has hit 345 runs with a high score of 56 runs and an above-average strike rate of 139.88. All things considered, on his day, he can be the dream pick for every team.
This means that the Australian selectors will be having a keen eye on the 23-year-old in this season of the BBL. He will have to pour in his heart and soul into playing this season and make it a point to fare well both in front and behind the stumps. And, if he succeeds in doing so, there will be virtually no hurdle in his path to the Australian dressing room.
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