The eighth season of the Big Bash League got underway on 19th December at the Gabba where the defending champions Adelaide Strikers took on the popular Brisbane Heat. As usual, there is a buzz around the BBL.
This year the BBL will witness a total of 59 matches which is 16 more than the previous editions. Another major change in the BBL is regarding the coin toss. The traditional coin toss has been replaced by a bat flip. Most of the last year’s stars like D’Arcy Short, Jofra Archer, Alex Carey, Chris Lynn will be back in action. They will be strengthened by the addition of overseas stars like Joe Root, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Sandeep Lamichanne. But as always there won’t be any Indian players in the mix. From the start of the IPL, the BCCI hasn’t allowed any of their players to play in the overseas leagues. The reason being they think it would reduce the superiority of the IPL. In between, there were talks of allowing some players to play in the overseas leagues but it didn’t quite work out. But what if the Indians were allowed to play in the BBL? Who could perform in the BBL?
Here is a look at five Indian players who could be a massive hit in the BBL.
#5 Kuldeep Yadav
We all know the importance of a wrist-spinner in a T20 team and that too if the wrist spinner is not a right-arm leg-spinner but a left-arm. Everybody wants a wrist-spinner in their team and you wouldn’t get a better left-arm chinaman bowler than Kuldeep Yadav. Kuldeep has been brilliant for India in white-ball cricket and especially T20Is. He has performed all around the globe which is very important to succeed in overseas leagues. In the recently concluded T20Is against Australia, he bowled really well as he picked up four wickets in three games at an economy rate of just 5.50!
It takes time for batsmen to pick a chinaman bowler and same is the case with Kuldeep’s bowling. If given a chance he definitely would have performed exceedingly well.
#4 Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer is the perfect middle-order T20 batsmen which you want in your team. He has all the required gears for the T20 game. He can take on the bowlers when the need arises and can even have a conservative approach if the target is not a big one. The 24-year-old batsman has all the shots in the book and doesn’t fear to take on the bowlers. He is comfortable against the spinners as he can smash them with utmost ease. He was really good for the Delhi Daredevils last season as he scored 411 runs in 14 games at an average of 37.36 and a strike-rate of 132.58. His knock of 93* off just 40 balls against KKR was breath-taking as he smacked the bowlers all over the park at the Kotla. He can even lead a side if required as he has captained Mumbai and Delhi Daredevils. He would be a great addition to any of the BBL teams.
#3 Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw is an ideal T20 opener for any team. He can make use of the power play to its full effect and can carry on the momentum in the middle overs. He is equally good against the quicks and the spinners. Even though he made his debut for the Indian team in the Test format his aggressive style of batting is more suited to the shortest format. He impressed everybody in his very first IPL season as he scored 245 runs while opening the innings in just nine games. The 18-year-old batted with a strike-rate of 153.12. The main highlight of his IPL season came when he scored a fifty against KKR where he was smashing high-quality bowlers like Mitchell Johnson, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. The conditions in Australia would suit his batting style as he loves to cut the ball. It would have been great fun to watch a youngster make an impact in an overseas league.
#2 Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah is the bowling superstar of the Indian team. He is currently the best Indian bowler across all formats and especially in the shortest format. There wouldn’t be any T20 team in the world who don't want the services of the Indian fast bowler. He has all the variations up his sleeve. He can bowl quick, he swings the ball, has a great yorker, good slower ball and a surprising bouncer as well.
He was as usual exceptional in the last IPL as he picked up 17 wickets in 14 games at an average of 21.88 and an economy rate of just 6.88. He performed well against Australia in Australia in the three T20Is. His inclusion in the BBL would definitely improve the quality of death bowling in the league. Looking at his workload it would be difficult for him to make it to the league but it would have been great if he was part of the BBL.
#1 Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya is the perfect combination of a T20 player. It wasn’t a surprise that he made his name first in the shortest format and then gradually made it into the longer formats. Hardik being a three-dimensional player would definitely be helpful for any team in the BBL. He has even improved his bowling in this format. In the last IPL season he was the leading wicket-taker for the Mumbai Indians as he picked up 18 wickets in just 13 games at a strike-rate of 14.22. The Australian crowd would definitely like a player like Hardik Pandya to be a part of the BBL.