BBL08 would have been a massive disappointment for the Strikers with such a weak defence of their title.
The nadir would have been losing at home by ten wickets to the Hurricanes at the Adelaide Oval. Being bowled out for 88 at Optus Stadium on Boxing Day was not far behind. Coach Jason Gillespie will be hoping for a more consistent campaign in BBL09.
The Strikers host the now traditional New Year’s Eve match and will be hoping to extend their unbeaten record. Currently standing at six straight wins, the Strikers host Sydney Thunder this year. Usually, over 40,000 fans pack into the Adelaide Oval for the December 31 match.
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The Strikers will be missing Colin Ingram in BBL09 and Cameron White, from the Renegades, will be tasked to replace the big-hitting South African. White has 1,534 runs at 26.91 with a strike rate of 116.04 throughout his BBL career.
Also, the Strikers’ bowling unit will be missing record BBL wicket-taker Ben Laughlin. The 37-year-old has been released from the final year of his contract, in Adelaide, and makes a move to Brisbane. New South Wales fast bowler Harry Conway has been recruited to bolster the bowling ranks.
One of the problems faced last year, and will be so this year, is the absence of captain Travis Head. International duty will rob the Strikers of Head for at least some of the campaign.
To address the issue, Jason Gillespie has used his English county connections to bring Sussex batter Phil Salt to South Australia.
Salt has been in good form in the Vitality Blast for the last two seasons and will hope to have a similar impact in BBL09. Salt was selected for England’s T20I squad earlier in the season.
Australia’s three-game tour of India will rob the Strikers of Alex Carey in the middle of January. Carey’s stellar growth came from the BBL and will be a considerable loss. Not only is he one of the best keepers around, but his runs are also going to be difficult to replace.
Rashid Khan is retained for another season and will be the Strikers’ main threat with the ball. Khan is a quality operator with the white ball; last year, he took 19 wickets at 18.10 with an economy rate of 6.14.
If the Strikers can find the right mix to support Khan, they will be challenging come the end of the season.
Michael Neser has been pushing for a Test place in the summer, which testifies to his current form, whereas Billy Stanlake needs to be more consistent.
Undoubtedly tall and fast, Stanlake does leak runs at times (9.07 per over in BBL08) and needs to tighten up to become a better white-ball bowler.
Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Travis Head (Captain), Harry Conway, Rashid Khan (Afg), Jake Lehmann, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen, Liam O'Connor, Phil Salt (Eng), Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Cameron White, Nick Winter
|Sat Dec 21||Sydney Thunder (A) at Manuka Oval||6:10pm AEDT|
|Mon Dec 23||Perth Scorchers (H) at Adelaide Oval||
|Fri Dec 27||Melbourne Stars (A) at Metricon Stadium||7:10pm AEDT|
|Sun Dec 29||Melbourne Renegades (A) at Marvel Stadium||7:10pm AEDT|
|Tue Dec 31||Sydney Thunder (H) at Adelaide Oval||7:10pm AEDT|
|Sun Jan 05||Sydney Sixers (A) at Coffs International Stadium||6:40pm AEDT|
|Wed Jan 08||Sydney Sixers (H) at Adelaide Oval||3:10pm AEDT|
|Sun Jan 12||Melbourne Renegades (H) at Adelaide Oval||3:10pm AEDT|
|Tue Jan 14||Brisbane Heat (A) at The Gabba||3:40pm AEDT|
|Fri Jan 17||Brisbane Heat (H) at Adelaide Oval||3:40pm AEDT|
|Sun Jan 19||Hobart Hurricanes (A) at UTAS Stadium||2:45pm AEDT|
|Wed Jan 22||Melbourne Stars (H) at Adelaide Oval||7:10pm AEDT|
|Fri Jan 24||Perth Scorchers (A) at Optus Stadium||9:10pm AEDT|
|Sun Jan 26||Hobart Hurricanes (H) at Adelaide Oval||7:10pm AEDT|