The Hobart Hurricanes have had a productive offseason recruiting Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara along with Shaun Tait, Clive Rose and Dan Christian and Simon Milenko from Brisbane. In the process they have lost Evan Gulbis and Ben Hilfenhaus to the Stars, Xavier Doherty to the Renegades and did not re-sign internationals Shoaib Malik, Tim Bresnan and Alex Hales. The Cane Train finished 5th overall last year after a lack-lustre season which yielded three wins and five losses. Hobart are more-or-less a dark horse for this year of the competition and if their key players can stand up they will be a strong contender to take the title.
PLAYERS TO PICK
Kumar Sangakkara – $88,900
The signing for this Sri Lankan legend’s services for BBL|05 could well be one of the biggest coups in Big Bash history. Earlier this year, Sangakkara retired from his highly decorated international career which makes him available for the entirety of BBL|05 for the Hobart Hurricanes. Most likely batting at first drop, Sanga was the first player picked in my team. He will provide versatility to the ‘Canes batting order as he is capable of anchoring an innings at one end or being a power-hitter at the other. Although he is expensive, I feel it is too risky not to pick him than to have him in your starting XI.
Ben Dunk – $59,600
Dunk had an explosive BBL|03 becoming the tournament’s leading runscorer and racking up 395 runs at an average of 44 along the way. However last season he was less productive only managing 175 runs across his 8 games. Dunk is more reasonably priced this time around and is sure to open the batting again for the Hurricanes. He has been it great form lately as well, scoring two centuries in his last two Shield outings. I’m tipping Dunk to turn it on again this year for Hobart and expect to see some lusty blows during the powerplay periods.
Darren Sammy – $69,500
This smooth West Indian has become somewhat of a cult figure in Hobart in the short time he has played there and will be looking to deliver for the fans once again in BBL|05. At just under $70k, Sammy is great value for both the firepower he brings to the Hurricanes’ batting line-up in the late stages of an innings and his deceptive medium—pace bowling. Sammy is always in the game as well so don’t be surprised if he takes a few catches or affects runouts throughout the season to add valuable points to your team.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tim Paine – $55,300
The new Hurricanes’ skipper will be one to watch this season as he will almost certainly open the batting with Ben Dunk. Should Dunk misfire, Paine could be a handy pick-up midway through the season as he will be one of the only other keepers this Big Bash to open the batting.
Shaun Tait – $66,800
The Wild Thing returns for another season in the Big Bash, this year donning the purple jersey over his former blue of the Adelaide Strikers. Tait is still one of the fastest bowlers in the country and has been plying his trade as a T20 gun-for-hire over the past few years. He is known to be inconsistent at times however so it would be wise to see how he performs early on before snatching him up.
George Bailey – $68,400
The former Australian limited-overs captain has handed the Hurricanes captaincy over to Tim Paine indefinitely due to his international commitments early next year. Renowned as one of the best T20 finishers in Auatralia, Bailey will probably bat at four or five in the order which isn’t ideal for a specialist batsman in the fantasy arena. He is still a world-class batsman but I would tread cautiously if thinking about choosing him.
Cameron Boyce – $71,900
Boyce is in this category as he has been dropped from Sheffield Shield cricket recently and is fighting for his place back in the QLD XI. He only took six wickets from six matches in the Matador Cup this year although Boyce has proven to be a very effective T20 spinner for Hobart over the years which led to a call-up for Australia. Safest bet would be to watch his form over the first couple of games before making a decision about him.
Dan Christian – $78,200
Christian is a class T20 player but has shown over the years he can be inconsistent, particularly with his bowling. With him now playing for a new team, there’s too much doubt surrounding him to justify picking him up from the get-go. If he ends up batting in the top four though and bowls more than two overs a game he could turn out to be a solid fantasy option as the tournament progresses.
Simon Milenko – $30,000
Milenko is yet to make his BBL debut however turned out for QLD in this year’s Matador Cup and performed well. The only concern is whether he will be in the Hurricane’s starting XI and if so, how much of a role he will play as an all-rounder. Keep an eye on him over the first few rounds before making a decision.
PLAYERS TO AVOID
Jake Reed – $74,600
Jake Reed had a breakthrough season in BBL|04 which is why he is so expensive this time around. At his price though, I believe there are better options available who give more opportunity for fantasy points which is why he won’t make it into my fantasy XI.