Perth Scorchers feel “the hunted”, the Sydney Sixers are out to address the pain of missing a three-peat of BBL wins wile veteran fast bowler Peter Siddle says his Strikers have to match the feats of their WBBL winning women’s team.
The Big Bash begins next week for a 12th season littered with storylines and featuring some of the greatest T20 players of all time with Andre Russell set to light it up for the Renegades, Trent Boult will cause nightmares for every top order while David Warner is back in the BBL for the first time in nine years.
Warner won’t be around when the Thunder kick-off the competition against a Melbourne Stars outfit minus injured skipper Glenn Maxwell next Tuesday in a small hit to the T20 competition also hit hard by the withdrawals of several players taken in the inaugural draft, including No.1 pick LIam Livingstone.
The Scorchers also lost their star import Laurie Evans but replaced im with former South African captain Faf du Plessis for the first seven games of the season including their season opening grand final rematch against the Sixers in a tantalising opening week.
“We certainly feel like we’re always the hunted,” Scorchers all-rounder Aaron Hardie said at the BBL launch in Sydney on Monday morning.
“If you look at the history of the Big Bash, us and the Sixers have probably had the most success so it’s kind of fitting that we get to play them in the first game at home.
“We’re not going to change anything too much. We’ve got a similar squad so we’ll be looking to keep that success going.”
One of the quirks of a domestic T20 competition like the BBL is that state contracts count for little, with players happy to move across the country for an opportunity.
It’s something Josh Philippe has become used to, with the Western Australia making himself at home with the Sixers where he was crowned player of the tournament in BBL|10.
“It felt a bit weird initially because they’re all my close mates who I pretty much spend nine months of the year with,” he said.
“But it’s not like that anymore and it’s actually quite fun now because it’s so competitive and there are massive bragging rights on the line.”
The Sixers reached last season’s final thanks to a thrilling final ball win over the Strikers who haven’t forgotten the pain of that epic contest at the SCG.
It’s why they’ve assembled another solid squad headlined by international superstar Rashid Khan, as well as six-hitting machine Chris Lynn who has made the move from the Brisbane Heat.
The Strikers also have the added bonus of trying to complete the double after their WBBL side lifted the trophy for the first time with a win at North Sydney Oval last month.
“It’s all about us getting back to the top and getting that championship because the girls set a high bar for us,” veteran Peter Siddle said.
“That spurs us on and hypes it up around Adelaide a bit more which will make it even more exciting because the fans are up and about.
“It’s five years since we won, so that’s a really long time when you consider the comp has been going for 12 years. Even though we’ve won one, it feels a long time ago.”
Then there are teams like the Melbourne Stars who are out for redemption after they missed the finals last season.
They won three of their final four matches, including a huge win over Hobart thanks to an unbeaten 154 by Glenn Maxwell in what was the greatest BBL innings of all time, but that’s ancient history and their star all-rounder won’t be there to save them.
“I’d like to say that you can continue on with that momentum, but it was nine months ago,” Hilton Cartwright said.
“It’d be great to build on what we did at the end of the year and use it as ammunition at training to start well next week, but this is a new season with new players so we can’t look back at what happened almost a year ago.”