Big Bash League 2020-21 season promises to be another big affair. Set to begin on Thursday, December 10, the tenth edition of the competition has undergone several changes which includes bonus points, free-hit for wides and even substitutions.
The alterations have received its fair share of criticism, but it will rather be interesting to see how the teams would utilize them. Furthermore, in what comes as a major boost, all eight teams will play BBL 10 in front of their home fans this season, subject to the pandemic situation in the country.
Big Bash League 2020 will have several players under the scanner, and here are five names who will need to up their ante during the course:
Alex Hales - Sydney Thunders
England batsman Alex Hales scored 272 runs in nine Pakistan Super League (PSL) games this season at an average of 45.33 and a strike rate of 148.63. Now, the figures are truly impressive on paper for T20 cricket, but note that a majority of his PSL runs came before the lockdown was imposed in Pakistan. In his last two outings of the competition, the 31-year-old has accumulated a mere 33 runs. In fact, since September this year, the England batsman has scored just 176 runs in 10 games, which translates to just above 17 runs per innings.
Hales has an above-average T20I record, but finding a place in the first team has been hard to come by. He played his last T20I against West Indies in March 2019, and a good BBL might uplift his stature as we near the T20 World Cup 2020.
Alex Carey - Adelaide Strikers
Matthew Wade’s surge in form means Alex Carey’s place in the Australian T20I setup is now in jeopardy. The 29-year-old wicket-keeper batsman has registered scores of 4, 14, 14*, 2 in his last T20 outings (first three in the Indian T20 League for team Delhi) and the Big Bash League 2020 gives him a perfect chance to resurrect his career in the shortest format. With the T20I World Cup looming, the Australia cricket team as well as the player would want to assert a claim in the upcoming T20 extravaganza as his figures in T20I (average of 12.57) certainly doesn’t help either party.
Chris Lynn - Brisbane Heat
Hard-hitting batsman Chris Lynn didn’t bat for the entirety of the Indian T20 League 2020, but went on to smash 154 runs off 55 balls in a Queensland Premier Cricket T20 match last week. Playing for Toombul, the 30-year-old scored 140 of his 154 runs in boundaries, hitting 20 sixes and five boundaries to help his team post 266/6. It may well and truly be a booster, one cannot overlook how sub-par he was in the 2020 edition of the Caribbean Premier League. Scoring a mere 138 runs in nine games at an average of 17.25, Lynn failed to score even a single half-century, with his best being 34.
Lynn has always found it difficult to get into the Australian T20I team, and BBL 2020 could well and truly be his last hurray.
James Vince - Sydney Sixers
A month after testing positive for the global virus, England batsman James Vince will return to action, playing for Sydney Sixers. Vince’s average of 28.33 in T20I may look decent but his recent performances paint an entirely different picture altogether. His last cricketing action came in September 2020 in the Vitality Blast, and he failed to get past the 10-run run mark in four of his last six outings. With the competition within the team itself looking strong, Vince will have to put in an assertive performance in the tournament.
Colin Munro - Perth Scorchers
Colin Munro missed out on a New Zealand central contract for 2020-21 and that has deterred his performances in one way or the other. The 33-year-old has as many as six single-digit scores in his last seven outings. Coming fresh at the back of a 207-run tally in eight innings with an average and strike rate of 34.50 and 133.54 respectively, and a mere 11 runs in the Ford Trophy, Munro will have to be at his very best to regain the lost touch.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @OptaJim