BBL Fantasy 2013/14: Perth Scorchers Preview

bbl_scorchersTeam Name

Perth Scorchers (PRS)

Summary

Perth have been one of the most unlucky teams in the competition. In both years they have lost the first match of the season, then gone on a winning streak to comfortably make the finals. Both seasons they’re backed as hot favourites to take out the title, and both times they lose horribly at the ‘Furnace’.

It is no surprise that they have got to the grand final both times though. Their opening pair is as good as you can get in this format. Shaun Marsh and Dwayne Smith at the top are a scary sight for bowlers. Whiteman coming in at three is a quality bat who is in a patch of good form, Voges should come in at four (see the line-up below), with Mitch Marsh and Simon Katichat five and six respectively. Their batting has a nice blend of experience and youth, something which I expect will help them go far into the tournament once again.

The Scorchers surprised a lot of people by consistently taking five bowlers into their matches. People feared the batting would be adversely affected. However, they have quashed those qualms in spectacular fashion. Having five bowlers allowed them to continuously keep the pressure on and the run-rate down. Beer did a superb job opening the bowling, one that I expect him to continue doing.  Brad Hogg continued to be a revelation last  season, and Scorchers fans will be happy with the news that he was re-signed. Behrendorff was and continues to be impressive. Alfonso Thomas is guaranteed a spot and is an extremely experienced bowler. Thomas would share the “strike bowler’s” role with Coulter-Nile. The fifth bowler would therefore be either Ashton Agar Ashton Turner, along with possibly a couple of overs from Voges and/or Mitch Marsh.

Strengths

  • Consistency. Everything about the Scorchers is consistent. Two grand-finals on the trot proves that things are going right in the engine room. Their game plan is simple, and more often than not, it works. One of the openers takes the attack to the opposition, tries to get a quick fifty while the other drops anchor and tries to bat until the end. In the past, Herschelle Gibbs was the aggressor, but they’ve brought in a player with similar attacking characteristics in Dwayne Smith. This means that Shaun Marsh will again drop anchor and accelerate towards the back end. This is why I would recommend picking Marsh over Smith; his role in the team means he is a safer bet to make runs.
  • Floating 7 and 8.A floating batsman means that they’ll come in when the situation demands it; they don’t have a set position as such. This provides a lot of flexibility to batting order, because there are always two or three batsmen you can send in depending on the situation. Consequently, this means an opposition team always has to have plans for two or three batsmen. The Perth Scorchers have two ‘floating’ positions: numbers seven and eight. Ashton Agar/Ashton Turner and Nathan Coulter-Nile. These guys mean Perth always go into a game with an ace up their sleeve, because both players can hit. Last season, Coulter-Nile went up the order quite a few times; and it worked magic. One example is the game against Brisbane .In a rain-affected match, we had to chase 60 odd. Coulter-Nile was sent in at three and nailed a magnificent twenty one to hand the Scorchers a sensational win.

Weaknesses

  • Over-reliance on the top four batsmen. In the past, when the Scorchers have been winning games, their top two or three generally make runs. However, when they don’t, they generally post up below-par scores. The Scorchers have a very nice opening pair, but they don’t have a brilliant and consistent middle order finisher in the mould of Brad Hodge or Glenn Maxwell. They’ve relied on Coulter-Nile in the past, and I think Ashton Agar/Ashton Turner will also take on this role. I think some of the onus should be on Mitch Marsh as well, he can hit a long ball. If teams can get two or three quick wickets, the Scorchers will more than likely fold cheaply.

Team XI for GW 1

The Scorchers have an extremely settled line-up, so their best XI is pretty much the XI they’ll be taking into the first game. The only change I might make is to replace Behrendorffwith Cummins when he is fit. Even though Brad Hogg is back in the squad, I don’t see where he will fit in the line-up. I see him making sporadic appearances, possibly at home games, where he’s a crowd favourite. This means now that Ashton Agar/Turner’s spot is not as secure as it was. Monitor.

  1. Dwayne Smith
  2. Shaun Marsh
  3. Sam Whiteman^
  4. Adam Voges
  5. Mitch Marsh
  6. Simon Katich
  7. Ashton Agar/Ashton Turner*/Brad Hogg
  8. Nathan Coulter-Nile
  9. Alfonso Thomas
  10. Jason Behrendorff/Patrick Cummins
  11. Michael Beer

^ – I’m not sure of the positions here. Voges is a better bat, so should come in at three, but he has proved in the past that he likes that number four spot. Whiteman has been in better form, and seems to be preferred in all formats at the moment over Triffitt.

*Ashton Agar will most probably (95%) take this spot, but on the off chance that Ashton Turner gets a go, he’s definitely worth a look in at 32k AS A BOWLER! Huge bargain there. I attended a bowling workshop with him and Sam Mackin on Monday, and he looked the goods. Got good turn on those synthetic wickets, something that’s pretty hard to do for a finger-spinner. As I said, monitor.

However, the addition of Brad Hogg does throw a spanner in the works, I’m not sure what the management are going to do about that. You’re just going to have to be vigilant right up until lockout.

Injuries

Pat Cummins is likely to be out for another 4-5 weeks with a stress fracture in his back.

International vacancies

None, for the whole tournament. There might only be a problem if Smith is given a surprise call-up to the West Indies squad against New Zealand. Get more info on scheduling here: http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-schedule/series

Locks

  • If Ashton Turner nails down a regular spot, he would be a lock for your fifth bowler’s slot.
  • Shaun Marsh is pretty close to a lock in my eyes. He consistently makes runs, and never seems to get out on a low score. If you can’t afford him, go for Smith. I think you need one of the Scorchers openers because of the role they play.
  • Coulter-Nile is not a lock, but he comes pretty close. He is probably going to get a bat in a lot of games due to the floating position he occupies, and will always bowl his four overs. Strongly consider.

Blocks

  • Patrick Cummins, until he’s fit.
  • Joel Paris, because he’s not likely to be in the first team.
  • Hilton Cartwright, similarly, will struggle to find a spot.
  • I’d also avoid picking Ashton Agar, Ashton Turner, Brad Hogg and Liam Davis until you know for sure that they will play.
  • Simon Katich would be on my ‘avoid’ list, only because he’s that far down the order that he sometimes might not get a bat.

Value Players

  • Sam Whiteman, HUGE value at only 32k. My wicketkeepers are him and Kieswetter, and I don’t expect that to change.
  • Pat Cummins when he comes back is pretty decent value at around 53k. If he can nail down a spot, he could slot in nicely as your third or fourth bowler.
  • Ashton Turner is also nice value, like I wrote previously.

Season Prediction

It’s always hard to bet against the Scorchers with their superb track record. They have a settled and flexible batting line-up along with a bowling group that can simultaneously contain and take wickets. They would be full of confidence, and know how to win. I think this time they’ll get to the final and take it out. Third time lucky.

 

Written by Zeus O’Dea, founder of and author for Fantasy Cricket Galore.

 

Edit: This article was written before the signing of Brad Hogg. I have hastily edited relevant parts, however some information may lose its relevance a little bit. For example, the part about ‘The Floating 7 and 8’, will obviously stay the same for Coulter-Nile, and if Ashton Agar/Turner is picked, stay the same for them as well. However, if Hogg if picked, only Coulter-Nile will be the ‘floater’, as such. 

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