BBL adds more big names to this year’s tournament

The BBL has added to it’s ever expanding list of high quality players by adding two prominent English stars to this year’s event. English test captain Joe Root and test wicket-keeper Jos Buttler have both signed with the Sydney Thunder to play in the 2018/19 edition of the tournament. Each of them will be available for just seven games, however, with the English national team scheduled to tour the West Indies in January.

Joe Root

Joe Root, aged just 27 years of age, is compiling a resume which, by the end of his career, may well rival some of the best in history. Already, he has played 72 test matches for 6102 runs, averaging 51.27 runs. 

His ODI resume is equally impressive. In that form of the game, he has played 116 matches, accumulating 4800 runs at the huge average of 51.61, and the very reasonable strike rate of 86.83. As a traditionally, very technically correct batsman however, he has failed to excel in the shortest form of the game.

For England, he has played 28 T20I’s for an average of 35.77 and a strike rate of 128.59. Far from poor numbers, but also a far cry from the sort of numbers he has put up in the other forms of the game. His struggles in that form of the game were never more clear when, earlier this year, he was overlooked in the IPL draft. Later on in 2018, he was dropped from the England national team in that form of the game. He has, however, previously stated a desire to improve at the shorter form of the game, and a role in one of the better domestic T20 leagues in the world is certainly a step towards doing that.

Jos Buttler

Joe Buttler doesn’t have the International resume that Root does, but the English wicket-keeper is an extremely talented wicket-keeper batsman and has become an integral part of his national team in all formats. 

At the test level, the 27 year old has played just 23 games, averaging a relatively modest 38.84 for his 1115 career runs. His ODI career, however, has been full of memorable knocks which have established him as one of the most reliable late innings batsmen in the world. In that form of the game, he has played 117 International games for 3148 runs, averaging 40.35 runs at the extraordinary strike rate of 117.11 runs per 100 balls.

It should come as no surprise that his T20I career has been an ideal place for him to showcase his big hitting talent. At the International level he has played 65 matches, averaging 27.10 runs at a huge 137.79 runs per 100 balls. Overall in T20’s, this strike rate is even better, coming in at 144.65. His recent form has been some of the best of his career, and as a result his signing is a big coup for both the Sydney Thunder and the Big Bash in general.

The Big Bash

The Big Bash has now been running for seven years, and has progressively growing in popularity ever since. Last year, the league was able to attract International names such as Dwayne Bravo, Kevin Pietersen, Brendon McCullum and Colin Ingram, while local stars included the likes of Shane Watson, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell and the Marsh brothers.

As for the Sydney Thunder, since the start of the BBL back in 2011 they have had a bizarre run in the league. Predominantly they have been a perennially unsuccessful team; in an eight team competition, they have finished eighth four times out of seven, seventh another time, and sixth last year. In the remaining year, however, back in 2015-16, they won the tournament. 

This coming year, with Root and Buttler added to their squad, they will likely go in with a much better chance of making it into the postseason. Root, for all his struggles in this form of the game, is one of the best batsmen in the world, and even if his problems with the bat persist in the series he will provide a leadership presence which cannot be underrated.

As for Buttler; he is one of the best batsmen in the world at this form of the game, and is an enormous pick up for the Thunder. He is able to bat anywhere from the top of the order to number seven, and is capable of batting in all kinds of situations. 

On a broader scale, the pick ups further strengthen what is already arguably the second biggest domestic T20 league in the world. The Big Bash has already managed to pull in plenty of high quality International players, but names like Root and Buttler make the league even more attractive to sponsors and other International players. Regardless of whether they have an impact on the field, the presence of these two players will make a splash.

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