Ponting rolls the dice in a big ‘gamble’ as the Scorchers are stunned by a massive call: Draft BBL Report Card
Ponting Rolls – The inaugural Big Bash draft kicked off with a bang, with big names signing and massive names being scouted.
Liam Livingstone of England became the competition’s first draft pick, with the Melbourne Renegades going all-in on the six-hitting all-rounder.
Ricky Ponting’s Hobart Hurricanes surprised everyone by choosing all three overseas players from the proud cricket nation.
While the Perth Scorchers – the kings of Big Bash cricket and last season’s champions – shocked most by opting to pass on their ‘platinum pick’ and instead opt for proven performers and in the gold and silver categories. The tactics were described as “extraordinary” by Fox Cricket’s Kath Loughnan while World Cup-winner Mike Hussey said it was a “massive call”.
Some of the world’s biggest T20 names were also snubbed too, with the West Indian trio of Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell not selected.
Despite opting for Pakistan’s Shadab Khan, Ponting expressed surprise that the leg-spinner and, in particular, Russell were not selected in the eight franchises’ first-up premium picks. Ponting rolls
Other notable absences included South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, England’s Jason Roy, and New Zealand’s Ross Taylor.
All eight teams were pleased with their draft picks. Ponting rolls
But who emerged victorious in the draft ahead of BBL12?
World Cup-winning coach Darren Lehmann believed the Renegades edged their rivals given the luxury of having the opening pick from the first two rounds but he also said the Sydney Thunder were “one of the bigger winners” after selecting David Willey Alex Hales and Rilee Rossouw.
“Obviously the first two picks they’re very happy with but (David) Willey’s outstanding,” Lehmann said.
“I would think the Renegades, who had the first pick, they were happy with Livingstone, and then they got Mujeeb Ur-Rahman.”
He added: “He’s (Willey) a good pick. He swings it but he can change the game with his hitting as well. And Roussouw, he’s a quality player at four and he’s in the form of his life. They’re probably one of the bigger winners.” Ponting rolls
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The Renegades have turned to spin after struggling since winning BBL|08.
Why? David Saker believes the spinning ball will outperform front-line quicks on the slower decks of Marvel Stadium.
The Renegades have gotten the best of both worlds by selecting Livingstone, because the hard-hitting batter, who is likely to bat in the middle order, can also bowl accurate off-spinners and legging.
With Mujeeb ur-Rahman on board, the Renegades have more than made up for the loss of Cameron Boyce.
Akeal Hosein has also been signed, and the West Indian has proven to be cost effective and a slow option. Ponting rolls
A lot will be on Livingstone’s shoulders, and if Aaron Finch can rediscover his form, the Renegades could once again be a contender.
WHAT THEY SAID: “They’ve gone spin heavy. As David Saker said, they’ve used the pace the previous three years and haven’t probably got the results they’re after so they’ve gone a spin to win theory,” Lehmann said.
Mike Hussey agreed: “I think that’s not a bad way to go. It’s a slightly different tactic to elsewhere around the country. Ponting rolls, it’s going to be a hard place to come and play and win, especially when you’re facing a lot of spin. And Liam Livingstone can come and bowl a few handy legging, but wow he hits massive square of the wicket.
Livingstone’s selection and return to the Big Bash is one of the great coups for the competition.
The destructive right-hander has grown from strength to strength as a player and Hussey said his “fearless” attitude was a real benefit for the Renegades.
“What I love about him is he’s just completely fearless with the bat. He just gets on with it from the word go,” Fox Cricket’s Hussey said. Ponting rolls
“He’s a great signing, and he’s going to light up the Big Bash again I think.”
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