WE’RE now just under a month away from the start of BBL|09, and as any fantasy coach worth their salt would tell you, preparation is key.
As with any fantasy sport, whether it be BBL Supercoach, AFL Supercoach or even fantasy giant pumpkin kayaking (there’s a competition in Oregon if anyone is interested) it is vital to snare the surprise packets and cheap youngsters early to beat the crowd and establish a good ranking before PODs (Point of Difference players) become ‘must-haves’.
Luckily for us, the new structure of the domestic season means we get a great insight into form and potential through the Sheffield Shield and Marsh Cup before the BBL kicks off in mid-late December.
Here are five young Australians who’ve shown their potential for a ground-breaking BBL campaign off the back of their form in the first-class competitions.
Caleb Jewell (Hobart Hurricanes)
BAT | $67,300
With Australian skipper Tim Paine sitting out of BBL|09, and Matthew Wade occupied with test duties, there is an opening at the top of the Hurricanes batting lineup with Caleb in the box seat.
The 22-year-old didn’t set the world on fire in his debut season in BBL|08, but managed to show his class in an unbeaten 61 against the Heat at Blundstone Arena and another quickfire 32 at Optus Stadium.
His performances in the Marsh Cup make for better reading, after starting like a house on fire with scores of 45, 64 and 104, Jewell has maintained an average of 35 thus far, which should be enough to grant him the Supercoach-friendly spot at the top of the Hurricanes batting order.
Cameron Green (Perth Scorchers)
BWL | $42,000
Green burst into the spotlight with a whirlwind man of the match performance in the Sheffield Shield, scoring 87* and 121* from No.8 to save the match for the West Australians.
The 20-year-old is no stranger to remarkable first-class performances taking 7-80 on his Shield debut as a teenager in February 2017. He has only played five matches combined in the Shield and Marsh Cup but backed up his MOTM performance with an 86 against the Redbacks.
While his potential for quick-fire runs and bags of wickets is clear, Green’s role in the Scorchers lineup is not overly friendly for fantasy coaches. He is likely to bat in the lower middle order and is not guaranteed a full quota of overs.
Despite this, at $42,000 he provides a low-risk bench option with significant upside.
Will Sutherland (Melbourne Renegades)
BAT|BWL | $42,000
Like Cameron Green, teenage prodigy Will Sutherland is another Shane Watson lookalike seeking to take the Australian domestic scene by storm.
The son of former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, Will was also touted as a rising Aussie Rules prospect but opted for the willow and leather.
Alongside two fifties Sutherland has snared nine wickets in the Marsh Cup, but like Cameron Green his potential role at the Renegades is not ideal. In a lineup which already features the likes of Dan Christian and Jack Wildermuth, Sutherland presents another value option for the bench with potential to make a name for himself if given the chance.
Wes Agar (Adelaide Strikers)
BWL | $84,200
The younger brother of Australian international T20 tweaker Ashton, Wes has had a brilliant start to the 2019/20 season with consistent performances in both the Shield and Marsh Cup.
Playing for the Redbacks, Wes has taken 13 wickets in his three Shield appearances and 11 wickets in five matches in the Marsh Cup including two bags of five against Queensland and Western Australia.
As someone who’s been on the scene for a bit longer, Wes will set you back more than the previous options, but with Ben Laughlin signing for the Heat and Michael Neser in the Aussie test squad – his security in the Strikers bowling attack looks secure.
Riley Meredith (Hobart Hurricanes)
BWL | $139,000
While Green captured the media spotlight recently, Riley Meredith has been turning heads for a while including high praise as a future star from Shane Warne and his personal hero Brett Lee.
The right arm tearaway has an impressive record in both red and white ball cricket. In BBL|08 he took 16 wickets with best figures of 4-21 against the Melbourne Stars. While in the 2019/20 domestic season, he has 14 wickets at 27.64 in the Shield and 11 wickets at 25.27 in the Marsh Cup.
While all the above would suggest sunshine and rainbows, there are a few more things to consider; namely cost and economy rate. Meredith operates at an economy rate of just under nine in T20’s and quite pricey at just under $140K. Due to the abundance of bowling options at and below the $140K range he will be a POD selection who may be ideal for the Hurricanes DGWs (Double Game Weeks) in rounds 9 and 12.
As with all young guns playing in cricket’s most volatile format, these five have their risks alongside their significant potential. Sticking to the most popular picks might keep you afloat, but won’t be enough to really climb the rankings. Your ability to get the POD selections and cheapies right before the rest of the competition will ultimately define how close you go to the famed $25K.
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