AFTER a remarkable, drought-breaking season in which a debut finals appearance returned its first Big Bash League title, the Sydney Thunder will begin as the punter’s favourite to go back-to-back in 2016/17.
Following this week’s announcement of squads for the coming season, the Thunder were installed as favourites, along with the Perth Scorchers at Sportsbet.com.au, paying +450.
The new season kicks off on Tuesday, December 20 when the Sydney Thunder face fierce rivals the Sydney Sixers at Spotless Stadium. The eight teams in the competition will all play each other twice across eight rounds of play, before the top four teams qualify for finals, which kick off on January 24.
The Thunder will welcome back key players from last year’s campaign in its pursuit of more glory. Australian stalwarts Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson will provide leadership, while powerful West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell will look to repeat his dominant performance from last season. Retired veterans Mike Hussey and Jaques Kallis could prove to be significant losses for the reigning champs.
Chris Gayle, the world’s highest-paid T20 cricketer and most proficient with the bat in the history of the shortened format, will not return to Australian shores after making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Gayle struggled for runs playing for the Melbourne Renegades and found himself on the wrong side of public opinion in 2015/16 thanks to the ‘don’t blush baby’ controversy with Channel 10 reporter Mel McLaughlin.
Last season’s runner up and perennial semi-finalists, the Melbourne Stars, sit at $6.50 as the third team in betting. International signing Kevin Pieterson will return, joining power-hitters Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner and David Hussey and a talented bowling unit hoping to give the Melbourne franchise its first piece of silverware.
Rounding out the betting is the Melbourne Renegades and Adelaide Strikers at $7, Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers at $7.50 and the Hobart Hurricanes at $8.
2016/17 Big Bash League playing squads
Brad Hodge (Captain), Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Jono Dean, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Tim Ludeman, Michael Neser, Kieron Pollard, Adil Rashid, Kane Richardson, Craig Simmons, Kelvin Smith, Billy Stanlake, Jake Weatherald.
Chris Lynn (Captain), Samuel Badree, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Alex Doolan, Andrew Fekete, Luke Feldman, Jason Floros, Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Brendon McCullum, James Peirson, Nathan Reardon, Alex Ross, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth.
George Bailey (Captain), Cameron Boyce, Stuart Broad, Dan Christian, Hamish Kingston, Ben McDermott, Dom Michael, Simon Milenko, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird, Jake Reed, Clive Rose, Kumar Sangakkara, Shaun Tait, Jonathan Wells,
Aaron Finch (Captain), Dwayne Bravo, Tom Beaton, Tom Cooper, Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Marcus Harris, Brad Hogg, Sunil Narine, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Nathan Rimmington, Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain, Matthew Wade, Guy Walker, Cameron White, Nick Winter.
David Hussey (Captain), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, John Hastings, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Tom Triffit, Daniel Worrall, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa.
Adam Voges (Captain), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Ian Bell, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Klinger, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, James Muirhead, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman, David Willey.
Moises Henriques (Captain), Sean Abbott, Sam Billings, Jackson Bird, Doug Bollinger, Johan Botha, Ryan Carters, Ben Dwarshuis, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Daniel Hughes, Nic Maddinson, Joe Mennie, Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Jordan Silk, Mitch Starc.
Shane Watson (Captain), Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Pat Cummins, Jake Doran, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Alister McDermott, Clint McKay, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha.
2016/17 Big Bash League title betting markets:
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