The Big Bash League squads have been finalised for the upcoming BBL09 season and there’s plenty of hype building for the most exciting cricket tournament of the summer. International stars such as De Villers, Steyn, Khan, Miller and Hales are going to bring plenty of “bash” to the BBL, while some of Australia’s best in Marsh, Khawaja, Short and Maxwell are going to be available for close to the entire tournament. Even Test stars in Steve Smith, Josh Hazelwood and Nathan Lyon have found a spot in the BBL this season.
So while those players are ones to watch, who are the young guns that are emerging on to domestic cricket scene and looking to make an impact in BBL09? Here’s our top five young guns to watch for this BBL season!
Max Bryant is a future superstar and will earn himself higher honours in national colours one day. At just 20 years of age, Bryant is a brutally destructive batsman who hits the ball as clean and as hard as anyone in the game. The thing I like most about Bryant is that he plays genuine cricket shots. He’s not out there slogging. He’s not clearing the front leg and swinging with his eyes closed. He’s standing and delivering. He has a beautiful straight bat, and it’s a pleasure to watch. Bryant got plenty of useful starts last season, and in BBL09 he’ll be looking to go on with it to make post some big numbers.
The Canes have got a good one here in 25-year old Nathan Ellis. He’s already shown glimpses of his talent in the domestic one-day league with a bag of five wickets against a star-studded NSW team that included some brilliant yorkers that obliterated the stumps. He also picked up a nine-wicket haul in a recent first grade club match in Hobart. He’s an attacking bowler who can rush the batsmen and adds some spark to the Canes’ bowling lineup. He’s also a very capable late-order hitter which could be very useful at the end of the innings. I expect him to start in the Hurricanes side in Game 1 and have a great BBL season.
Some would say that Josh Phillipe already announced himself last season with an excellent BBL season, but at just 22 years of age, Phillipe is still on the rise. His switch from Perth across to the Sixers was a wise one as he was given an opportunity at the top of the order which he grabbed with both hands. Phillipe is a powerhouse batsman, with a technique that has drawn comparisons to Steve Smith. He’s also a very capable wicketkeeper. Perhaps there’s a chance for a let-down season for Phillipe with higher expectations now upon him, but I believe he’s up to the challenge.
How exciting are the Heat looking this season with Banton coming in for the first eight games to partner with Max Bryant at the top of the order? Banton is only 21 years of age, yet he’s already been touted as a future star for England. Banton has all the shots in the game and brings a fearless, aggressive approach to his batting. He smashed a brilliant maiden T20 century for Somerset off just 51 balls earlier this year, which helped him get a call up into the England T20 squad. He was also named England’s Young Cricketer of the Year. The question is whether he has really been tested yet, so he’ll be looking forward to the challenge of the BBL.
Matthew Gilkes has only had limited opportunities for the Thunder and NSW so far in his career, but he’s already shown some genuine talent for a 20-year old. Gilkes can give the ball a good whack and this may be his season to shine. The Thunder list isn’t the strongest on paper, and they are severely lacking in the keeping department. So it seems likely that the plan will be for Gilkes to take the gloves and bat at number four or five, which means he’ll be a key member of their campaign in BBL09. One to watch for sure!
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