Big Bash League 2017/8: Hobart Hurricanes Preview

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HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Tim Paine of the Hurricanes and D'Arcy Short of the Hurricanes walk out to bat during the Big Bash League match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Perth Scorchers at Blundstone Arena on January 21, 2017 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images )

The Hobart Hurricanes have had a torrid few seasons. Over the past three years they have finished 5th, 7th and 7th. They do not have the strongest squad on paper, relying mainly on homegrown talent, but they are serial under-performers. It is hard to see how this season will be any different for them, despite the signings of Tom Curran and Tymal Mills. Hobart Hurricanes fans should expect another frustrating season.

Batting

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Skipper George Bailey is probably the best batsman their side has to offer. Bailey, known for his unorthodox stance, had a prolific season last year. The left-hander averaged just short of 50, striking at over 130 and he hit three fifties. His recent first-class form has been equally impressive, with recent scores of 71,3,86,106 and 59 against some top-class sides. Bailey is probably the most experienced player in the Hobart side and will have to carry his team’s batting unit. D’Arcy Short is another key batsman for Hobart, as he opened the batting last year for them alongside Tim Paine. Short announced himself in style last season, hitting a blistering 61 off 29 on debut. While this was his top score, he consistently made contributions throughout the season and ended up with close to 200 runs at a strike rate of 163. He was their third highest run-scorer throughout the competition behind Paine and Bailey. In addition to this, his part-time spin bowling was useful at various points.

In terms of other batsmen who could contribute, the Hobart Hurricanes are lucky to have both Tim Paine and Matthew Wade. Tim Paine is currently Australia’s first choice Test wicketkeeper and is away on Ashes duty. However, Wade may be overlooked for Ben McDermott. Nevertheless, both McDermott and Wade have proven themselves to be expert glovemen and handy with the bat. Veteran all-rounder Dan Christian and Simon Milenko are likely to make up their middle order, providing them with batting depth and bowling options.

Bowling

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The Hobart Hurricanes’ worrying lack of depth in their bowling department will be a concern for them. While they did sign Tymal Mills and Tom Curran, they lost other England international Stuart Broad. Also, Curran could feature in the Ashes, leaving Mills as their frontline seam option. Last year Dan Christian was their leading wicket taker, with a meagre haul of nine wickets (out of which five came in one innings). Aside from Christian, Broad was their next best bowler and his absence will be a real disappointment for Hobart fans. Cameron Boyce’s leg-spin did pick up a few wickets, but his expensive economy of over nine was another concern. It is fair to say that their bowling last year was abysmal. See below for a list of the bowlers they used and the number of wickets they took alongside their economies:

Dan Christian (9 wickets at 7.44), Clive Rose (4 wickets at 7.94), Beau Webster (0 wickets at 8.00), Stuart Broad (8 wickets at 8.23), Cameron Boyce (6 wickets at 9.13), Hamish Kingston (3 wickets at 11.10), D’Arcy Short (2 wickets at 11.86), Sam Rainbird (0 wickets at 12.33), Shaun Tait (4 wickets at 12.48), Simon Milenko (2 wickets at 12.50) and Jake Reed (2 wickets at 13.40).

These statistics make for grim reading, especially when you consider that Broad, Webster and Tait are no longer with the Hobart Hurricanes. Tymal Mills will have to carry this bowling attack and the Hurricanes should look to turn to some young homegrown talent such as Tom Rogers and David Moody. This bowling attack could get routinely taken apart, especially on the fast, bouncy pitches in Australia.

How will they do?

It is hard to see the Hobart Hurricanes qualifying from the group stages this year. Their batting unit is solid, but not of the same calibre of other sides such as the Brisbane Heat. George Bailey and D’Arcy Short will bear the burden to score most of their runs this year, and it is unlikely that they will receive much support from their bowlers. Tymal Mills is their only possible saviour, either him or perhaps some of the younger Australian squad members.

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