SuperCoach BBL study guide: Strikers
THE reigning champions of the Big Bash League, the Strikers took all before them in BBL|07, with a handful of youngsters leading them to an inaugural trophy.
For BBL|08 it's a case of if it ain't broke, don't mess with it - the squad they enter into this upcoming season is similar to that which won last season.
It's a tough one - who is the star, who is the young gun and who is the point of difference for the Strikers? Seniority counts, so we've picked the skipper as the star player. Travis Head (BAT, $207,500), who averaged 76.67 SuperCoach points per game in nine appearances for the Strikers in BBL|07, is the highest-priced player for the Adelaide side. Since leading his side to victory, he debuted for Australia at Test level in the recent series against Pakistan.
THE BURN MAN
For the above reason, it's easy to consider Head the player to avoid in BBL|08 - the likelihood is he'll be unavailable due to international duties for the majority of the season. Alternatively, wily veteran Peter Siddle (BWL, $147,700) could be the burn man this season, as he's another with claims to Australian representation if the nation's key strike bowlers cop any injuries, much as he did in the UAE where he was arguably the best of the Australian quicks.
THE YOUNG GUN(S)
If the above happens and these two key players miss extended action due to national commitments, the Strikers will have a couple of youngsters under pressure to step up with both bat and ball. Look no further than Melbourne Renegades recruit Matthew Short (BAT, $129,900), who opened for the Renegades in their final regular season game in BBL|07, smacking 62 balls off 48 balls to lead off their innings in his customary position as opener. When it comes to young guns in the Big Bash, it's impossible to look past Rashid Khan (BWL, $198,800). The Afghani leg-spin sensation bamboozled opponents last year, taking 18 wickets from 11 games on his way to averaging 73.45 SuperCoach points per game.
THE POINT OF DIFFERENCE
Jake Lehmann (BAT, $62,500) had a rotten run in BBL|07, failing to post a score greater than 23 runs despite taking to the crease nine times. However, his strike rate of 119.23 remained healthy, and his near-bottom basement price means he's unlikely to be a favourite for many teams ... but if he can hit peak form, his clean striking will see him hit some sweet SuperCoach scores and his price soar as a result.
THE BREAKOUT CONTENDER
If his incredible innings in the final wasn't enough indication, Jake Weatherald (BAT, $144,600) is seemingly made for the Big Bash stage. Weatherald smashed his way to a ridiculous 115 in the BBL|07 final - the highest score ever by a Striker - to go alongside three 50s through the final five games of last season's tournament. He finished second in the competition for sixes (19) and third for runs overall, such was his blistering end to the summer, yet only averaged 53.42 SuperCoach points per game. Expect that to soar in BBL|08.
At that price point, Weatherald falls into the higher end of the mid-price category between $90,000 and $150,000, as does fellow youngster Billy Stanlake (BWL, $137,500). The towering quick regularly hits 140kmp/h, but it's his economy rate of just over a run a ball that is so exciting from a SuperCoach perspective, with the bonus points earned as a player certain to bowl his allocated four overs per innings making him a real possibility to select as a standalone bowler.