@HenryWAClark 5 minute read
As the group stage of the 10th edition of the Big Bash League comes to a close, we have a look at how the fourteen Englishmen who featured in the competition got on for their respective sides.
Alex Hales – Sydney Thunder
14 matches, 535 runs @ 41.15, SR: 163.60, HS: 110
How much longer will England look past Alex Hales? By far the stand-out English representative in the BBL group stages, the Notts batsman has piled on the runs at the top of the order. His incredible knock of 110 was a highlight reel of the clean ball-striking that has made Hales one of the most sought-after white-ball batsman in the world, and after two ducks in his first three knocks, just one single-figure score in his next 11 showcased his consistency. His exclusion from national consideration – he has not featured for England since being dropped on the eve of the 2019 World Cup, with captain Eoin Morgan citing a lack of trust – looks set to continue anyway. Winning games of cricket with match-winning performances will ensure the debate will continue to rumble on.
Jason Roy – Perth Scorchers
11 matches, 352 runs @ 35.20, SR: 133.84, HS: 74*
Jason Roy has enjoyed a fine campaign for the Scorchers so far, only once falling in single figures and ensuring his side have consistently been given fast starts. That has made up for something of a lack of big scores, with Roy only passing fifty twice, though he was named Player of the Match for his knock of 74* against Hobart Hurricanes.
Sam Billings – Sydney Thunder
10 matches, 9 innings, 226 runs @ 28.25, SR: 143.03 HS: 83 | 10 dismissals
Kent’s wicketkeeper switched Sydney clubs ahead of the 2020/21 campaign and has faired well in Thunder green. After strong performances last summer for England, including a maiden ODI century against Australia which saw him named in Wisden’s ODI team of 2020, Billings continues to remind the England selectors of his capabilities. Batting in the middle-order, he has showed himself capable of both capitalising on fast starts and rebuilding after tricky ones.
Jake Ball – Sydney Sixers
7 matches, 9 wickets @ 29.66, ER: 11.12, BBM: 3-25
Only called up as a replacement for Tom Curran who was a late withdrawal from the competition, Jake Ball has used his added variation and a new knuckle-ball to take wickets, but has often proved expensive. Only once has he conceded fewer than 30 runs in a spell, but then only twice has he gone wicketless.
Danny Briggs – Adelaide Strikers
13 games, 10 wickets @ 32.40, ER: 7.74, BBM: 3-20 | 6 innings, 53 runs @ 17.66, SR: 151.42, HS: 35*
Even as the highest wicket-taker in the history of England’s domestic T20 competition, Briggs is a name that is often overlooked in competitions around the world. The left-arm spinner has been largely ever-present for the Strikers during a campaign of mixed fortunes and has generally performed well when called upon. He, alongside Johan Botha, has the unfortunate record of being the first player subbed out under the new BBL X-factor player rule.
Liam Livingstone – Perth Scorchers
11 matches, 289 runs @ 26.27, SR: 125.65, HS: 67 | 3 wickets @ 10.66, ER: 8.00
Livingstone formed a strong opening partnership with Roy at the top of the order for the Scorchers who once again look like the team to beat in this year’s competition. There was perhaps not quite the volume of runs that Lancashire fans have come to expect from their explosive opening batsman but he showed his class alongside Roy in their team’s thrashing of the Hurricanes, when the Englishmen put on 128 for the opening wicket. He’s proved to be handy with the ball too.
James Vince – Sydney Sixers
14 matches, 344 runs @ 26.46, SR: 131.80, HS: 67
Part of a Sixers side that suffered a few late defeats to knock them off top spot in the table, Vince hasn’t quite been his usual destructive self in this campaign. The Hampshire batsman has made plenty of good starts but will be trying to capitalise on them better when he heads into the knockout stages of the tournament. He also became just the sixth English batsman to pass 6,000 career T20 runs in his unbeaten knock of 45 against the Strikers.
Dawid Malan – Hobart Hurricanes
10 matches, 265 runs @ 26.50, SR: 113.73, HS: 75
The world’s number one T20I batsman arrived Down Under for his first stint in Big Bash cricket with the Hurricanes with high hopes. But as his side has struggled, Malan’s own form has taken a knock and he has not quite been at his imperious best. He notched his first BBL half-century against the Stars in an exceptional knock of 75, but that was his only half-century. For those who worry his slow starts could come back to hurt England, this campaign will be grist to the mill.
Lewis Gregory – Brisbane Heat
11 matches, 171 runs @ 21.37, SR: 133.59 HS 36 | 11 matches, 9 wickets @ 36.57, ER: 10.24
A decent showing from Gregory in his first Big Bash campaign and one in which his numbers probably don’t do justice to the impact he has had on this new-look Heat team. He has chipped in with some handy performances with the bat in the finisher role and has contributed with the ball too, although he has conceded more than 10 an over.
Phil Salt – Adelaide Strikers
14 matches, 284 runs @ 20.28, SR: 130.87, HS: 59
Another young Englishman who arrived with high hopes and a burgeoning reputation, things haven’t quite clicked in the way Phil Salt would’ve hoped. Exactly half of his innings have ended in single figures, demonstrating the boom-or-bust nature of his approach. Two half-centuries meant it wasn’t a trip completely wasted for the Sussex big-hitter.
Joe Denly – Brisbane Heat
9 matches, 168 runs @ 18.66, SR: 108.38, HS: 50
Drafted in as a last-minute replacement for fellow Englishman Tom Banton, Denly has struggled to really get going at the top of the order. A fifty in his second innings promised much, but his highest score since is 31. The Kent batsman dislocated his finger in the Heat’s clash with the Sixers but will still be looking to better his return in the latter stages of the competition.
Will Jacks – Hobart Hurricanes
7 matches, 66 runs @ 9.42, HS: 34
Will Jacks arrived with high hopes after an explosive T20 Blast campaign, but struggled to get going in Australia, with the hard hitter falling before passing 1 as often as he made it into double figures.. He has been in and out of the side due to his iffy form, with an injury to James Faulkner giving him some additional chances.
Joe Clarke – Perth Scorchers
3 matches, 44 runs @ 14.66, SR: 183.33, HS: 34
Signed mainly to be used as a back-up option for the Scorchers, Clarke’s 16-ball 34 in what turned out to be his penultimate group stage knock could have won him more chances. After a resurgent English summer in 2020, Clarke is another youngster whose time will eventually come.
Dan Lawrence – Brisbane Heat
4 matches, 41 runs @ 10.25, SR: 93.18, HS: 20
It was just a short stint in Australia for Lawrence before heading to Sri Lanka to join the England Test side. In his few outings for the Heat he struggled to catch the eye, with a bubble breach also blotting his copy book.
Benny Howell – Melbourne Renegades
2 matches, 0 wickets, ER: 7.20
County cricket fans rejoiced at the news of the Gloucestershire all-rounder being picked up by the Renegades after years of exceptional performances in the T20 Blast and One Day cup. Scheduled to play in just the first two games of the competition until other overseas options arrived, Howell showed his typical wiles. He was another who could have won more opportunities, considering the Renegades’ dire form in the tournament.