The Hobart Hurricanes have only made it out of the group stages twice out of the past five years. In 2013-14 they made it into the final, but lost at the hands of the Perth Scorchers. They will be looking to record their first tournament win but have not made many changes to their squad. The biggest change for the Hobart Hurricanes is the addition of English fast bowler Stuart Broad. Middle order batsman Tim Paine is likely to captain this side and will be relying on an experienced side to deliver success.
Talented Batting Unit
There is an immense amount of batting talent in the Hobart side. Arguably Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara is the most exciting player in their squad. Sangakkara, now 39, has scored over 1,300 international T20 runs and at an impressive strike rate of around 120. Primarily a Test batsman, Sangakkara bats in a classy manner, displaying near perfect technique in all his shots. Ever since he retired internationally, the Sri Lankan has taken part in many limited overs domestic competitions. In the summer he played for Surrey in the English T20 Blast and also made an appearance in the Pakistan Super League. It is hard to find a more experienced player than him and if he finds form, he could devastate all oppositions.
George Bailey will also be key to Hobart’s successes. Bailey is a destructive and explosive player, with a career strike rate of around 140. Last tournament, Bailey scored the most runs for the Hobart Hurricanes. He scored 240 runs in just six matches at a brutal strike rate of near 150. Yet, his recent form for Australia has not been great. In the three ODI matches he played against New Zealand earlier this month, Bailey only managed 40 runs. However, his domestic form prior to that was exceptional. Playing for Tasmania, Bailey hit a sparkling unbeaten 142. The following game he also scored 58* against West Australia. The Hurricanes will be praying that Bailey can return to this form and make some large contributions.
As mentioned earlier, Tim Paine will probably captain the side again this year. The middle order batsman had an average season last time out and will be looking to make amends. With a career strike rate of over 120, Paine will be looking to make several handy contributions in their middle order. The last domestic match he played was for the Tasmania Under-23s where he unfortunately was dismissed on 99. He looked relatively solid in that innings and will be looking to continue his form into the upcoming series.
Experienced Bowling Unit
The Hurricanes will be delighted with the arrival of Stuart Broad into their squad. The English fast bowler has been looking to make a return back into the England limited overs side. He therefore chose to play in the Big Bash to prove to selectors that he is still capable of delivering in the fast-paced clashes. Broad is coming off the back of a long, strenuous tour of Bangladesh and India. He was rather unlucky at times and unsuccessful on the flat and turning pitches prepared in the subcontinent. The pitches in Australia will definitely offer him much more assistance and it will come as a welcome break to him. However, for Broad to succeed it is necessary that he is able to deliver straight away and change his mindset away from Test cricket.
The erratic, but extremely quick Shaun Tait will also provide a source of firepower for the Hobart side. Tait has not played cricket since his stint at Glamorgan in the T20 Blast in summer where he put in some good performances. Tait was slightly more economical than we’ve seen in the past and perhaps it is now his experience that is guiding his play. This was also the case when he played for Peshawar Salmi in the Pakistani Super League earlier this year. Tait no longer plays longer formats of the game but has become a T20 specialist and all of his experience will be key to the Hobart Hurricanes.
While the team composition of the Hurricanes is uncertain, it is likely that leg-spinner Cameron Boyce will be heading up their spin attack. After some great domestic performances, Boyce was rewarded with a call-up back to the Australian T20 side at the start of the year. He played two T20s against India and noticeably picked up an impressive 2-28 in Sydney. This included the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, two of the best T20 players in the world. He will be looking to be slightly more economical this year, with an overall Big Bash economy rate of around 7.5. While he has proven himself to be a key strike bowler, he should aim to try and build pressure when the wickets are not providing much assistance.
Overall Chance of Winning
Winning the Big Bash this year will be very hard for the Hobart Hurricanes. On Test Match Special this morning, one of the commentators referred to this side as the “Hobart Has-beens”. Indeed there are lots of experienced players here who no longer represent their national sides and is a relatively ageing side. Yet, with all their experience and ability there is no reason why they can’t at least take the Hurricanes out of the group stages. Winning the competition will not be easy for them at all.