Green, then who? SuperCoach BBL’s best bargain buys
After a bevy of KFC SuperCoach cheapies were available to BBL coaches last summer, the cupboard is bare for BBL10.
Choosing your cheapies might be tougher than ever before, with coaches forced to largely bank on underperforming players from BBL09 to enjoy a resurgence this summer.
Boom all-rounder Cameron Green will be the first-player picked in most teams and his appeal will only increase if there's any indication from Perth Scorchers he'll be bowling during the BBL.
His teammate Ashton Turner, a 17-time Australian representative, also looms as a potential bargain at a starting price of $62,500.
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Turner was stuck behind players such as Liam Livingstone, Josh Inglis and Mitch Marsh last season, finishing with 86 runs from seven innings.
That was a far cry from his BBL08 output of 378 runs from 14 innings.
Max Bryant, Billy Stanlake and Jack Wildermuth are others who will start much cheaper than last year after struggling to make an impact in BBL09.
Hard-hitting Heat opener Bryant clearly has the talent to be a KFC SuperCoach factor, but needs to produce his best more often.
Stanlake (Melbourne Stars) and Wildermuth (Brisbane Heat) will be hoping a change of scenery reignites their BBL careers.
These are the best KFC SuperCoach BBL cheapies to consider for your team.
Cameron Green (Perth Scorchers) $62,500 BAT-BWL BBL09 avg: 12.9
The boom player of Australian cricket didn't have a huge impact for the Scorchers last season, batting too low and not bowling as he managed back issues. But he's getting closer to a bowling return and has been in red-hot form in the Sheffield Shield. Expect him to be elevated in the batting line-up if Mitch Marsh misses the early rounds with an ankle injury.
TIM'S VERDICT: Pick him and move on. Treat it as a bonus if he's bowling.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Is that price right? Pick him even if he doesn't bowl.
Matthew Short (Adelaide Strikers) $65,300 BAT BBL09 avg: 22.8
The Victorian was shuffled around the batting order last season after earning the interest of many KFC SuperCoaches when he appeared set to feature at No.3. That role didn't eventuate regularly enough, although he showed his capabilities as a finisher by launching 23 off 15 against Melbourne Stars and 33 from 20 against Hobart Hurricanes.
TIM'S VERDICT: Matt Renshaw's signing might make him less of a factor with bat and ball. Pass.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Unlikely to be prominent but no bye and two double-game weeks in the first six rounds keeps him on the watchlist.
Max Bryant (Brisbane Heat) $67,800 BAT BBL09 avg: 23.7
Bryant seemed destined for big things after a breakout BBL08 tournament but didn't hit the same heights last season. Still, he has the perfect role to go big in KFC SuperCoach and has already proven he's one of the BBL's most damaging batsmen when on song.
TIM'S VERDICT: An opening batsman with huge upside for less than $70k is hard to ignore.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Too cheap to pass up, despite last summer, at some point, even if it's after the opening-round bye.
Tom Cooper (Brisbane Heat) $78,900 BAT BBL09 avg: 27.6
Starved of regular opportunities at Melbourne Renegades, the Netherlands international and experienced T20 player should have a more prominent role for the Heat. Cooper has shown in recent seasons he's capable of building pressure with the ball in the power play as well as elevating a team's score at the end of an innings.
TIM'S VERDICT: Does he fill the Renshaw role batting at No. 4 or No. 5 and bowling in the powerplay? If so, he interests me.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Two single-figure scores to start the Shield season doesn't fill me with confidence, especially after a disappointing BBL09. May bat higher but there are better options.
Jack Wildermuth (Brisbane Heat) $62,500 BAT-BWL BBL09 avg: 18.7
See the above notes on Cooper. Wildermuth found himself out of favour at the Renegades last season and struggled for wickets when he did feature. But there's a spot up for grabs at No. 6 or No. 7 for the Heat due to Ben Cutting's departure and Wildermuth seems an obvious replacement.
TIM'S VERDICT: Wildermuth has always been a player I've rated and I think he was underused by the Renegades, especially with the bat. Likely to be in my Round 1 side.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: At that price, he only needs to be half as good as Cutting. One to watch.
Mitch Owen (Hobart Hurricanes) $42,000 BAT-BWL
The wraps are big on the young all-rounder, who is a rookie with Tasmania. Owen will be a popular KFC SuperCoach player for those looking to fill out their bench with a player who has DPP status.
TIM'S VERDICT: Don't know a lot about him, but the numbers in Tassie grade cricket are promising. There's an all-rounder's role up for grabs at Hobart.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Plenty of talent again being assembled down in Hobart, but the DPP is one to watch if he can break in.
Jake Fraser-McGurk (Melbourne Renegades) $42,000 BAT
It was somewhat surprising Fraser-McGurk didn't feature for the Renegades in BBL09 after making an instant impression for Victoria. He likely would have debuted for the Renegades had he not been in South Africa during January for the Under-19 World Cup. Expect to see him early in BBL10 batting in the middle-order.
TIM'S VERDICT: I'm a bit surprised we didn't see him last season considering how bad the Renegades were. Out of the $42k options I prefer Mitch Owen due to his DPP status.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Another young gun who should get his opportunity in the BBL this summer, but I need more than that in this game.
Will Sutherland (Melbourne Renegades) $79,900 BAT-BWL BBL09 avg: 27.9
The Victorian all-rounder doesn't come as cheap as last year, but his upside is still great. Sutherland played 10 games for the Renegades in BBL09 and finished with four wickets and 41 runs. Those numbers don't scream pick me in SuperCoach, but he's only going to get better.
TIM'S VERDICT: He's on the pre-season watch list. If he's going to be bowling regularly he's capable of justifying spending almost $80k.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Took 3-26 as the Vics skittled the Redbacks for 200 on Friday. I'm watching.
Marcus Harris (Melbourne Renegades) $62,500 BAT BBL09 avg: 21.6
Harris has largely been a fringe batsman for the Renegades in recent seasons, only featuring in nine matches last campaign. With Aaron Finch likely to be available for more of BBL10 than previous tournaments, opportunities in the top order will be limited. There could be better options available for the same price, despite Harris' recent double ton in the Shield.
TIM'S VERDICT: The former Test opener isn't even guaranteed a regular game in the BBL. Hard pass.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: There's 239 reasons Harris must remain on the watchlist, despite the uncertainty around his BBL role.
Ben Dunk (Melbourne Stars) $62,500 WKP-BAT BBL09 avg: 18
Poached from Adelaide Strikers after he was the BBL's leading run scorer in BBL06, Dunk hasn't reached those heights with the Stars. In three seasons with the Stars Dunk has made 552 runs at an average of 16.7. Last season, he posted 95 runs in 12 matches playing predominantly as a middle-order batsman.
TIM'S VERDICT: It's been a few years since we've seen the best of Dunk in the BBL. I'm inclined to wait and see how he starts and where he/if he features for the Stars.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: We know he's got the potential - I watched him hit plenty of balls into the crowd at Adelaide Oval - but after 2, 9, 19 and 2 in his final four innings of the recent Carribean Premier League, I'll pass for now.
Nic Maddinson (Melbourne Stars) $78,100 BAT BBL09 avg: 27.3
Maddinson found himself shuffled down the batting line-up last season as the Stars preferred Hilton Cartwright as Marcus Stoinis' opening partner. The talented left-hander has only managed a combined 252 runs in the past two BBL campaigns. His best KFC SuperCoach outing of BBL09 was when he was the unlikely bowling hero for the Stars against Perth, snaring 3-24 from four overs including a freakish caught and bowled.
TIM'S VERDICT: Lost his opening spot to Hilton Cartwright last season and although the upside is obvious, I'll be steering clear.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: I haven't written him off just yet.
Billy Stanlake (Melbourne Stars) $75,400 BWL BBL09 avg: 20
Hard to believe it's only been about 12 months since Stanlake played his last T20 for Australia. The beanpole quick took 0-19 against Pakistan in Perth last November but wasn't able to carry that form into the BBL. Stanlake conceded more than nine runs an over and only collected four wickets in 11 games. He'll be hoping a change of scenery reignites what was a very promising career only a few years ago.
TIM'S VERDICT: Only four wickets from 11 games for Stanlake last season is a worry - and he conceded more than nine runs an over. On the watch list.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Not until he returns to the Strikers! But he's underpriced.
Cameron Bancroft (Perth Scorchers) $84,200 WKP-BAT BBL09 avg: 29.4
Another former Test opener on the cheapies list in KFC SuperCoach BBL. There will be a squeeze on for spots in the Perth batting line-up with Liam Livingstone returning and Jason Roy signed. It might come down to Ashton Turner or Bancroft for the last spot in the top six when the Scorchers are at full strength and Turner's finishing power would almost certainly push him ahead of Bancroft.
TIM'S VERDICT: The Scorchers have real batting depth with the return of Liam Livingstone and signing of Jason Roy. I can't be confident of where Bancroft fits in.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: The make-up of the Scorchers batting order will be the key. Could be a nice point-of-different, though, if he can take his place near the top.
Ashton Turner (Perth Scorchers) $62,500 BAT BBL09 avg: 20.7
The explosive middle-order batsman battled a broken finger in the lead-up to BBL09 and his campaign never got going. He seemed to be a big part of Australia's white-ball plans before last summer and will be desperate to elevate himself back into the reckoning for national honours. If you can forgive last summer's output, Turner finished BBL08 as one of the tournament's leading run scorers with 378 runs at an average of 31.5. That's a better indication of his talent.
TIM'S VERDICT: Far too cheap for the potential output. I'll likely pick Cam Green as a bowler and Turner on my BAT bench.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: I may even pick him before Green. Maybe not, but he's close.
Cameron Gannon (Perth Scorchers) $62,500 BWL
Gannon has been a lethal red-ball bowler in recent seasons but hasn't featured often in the BBL while on the books at Brisbane Heat. He gets an opportunity to make his mark with Perth but will be a back-up to key trio Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye if that trio is fit at the start of BBL10.
TIM'S VERDICT: The leading wicket-taker from last year's Sheffield Shield. He'll be behind Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye and Jason Behrendorff, but if one or more isn't fit for Round 1 Gannon could be next in line.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: More Shield wickets to start the summer but how many overs will he bowl for Perth? That's the key.
Sam Whiteman (Perth Scorchers) $81,000 WKP-BAT BBL09 avg: 7.0
Hard to see where he fits into the line-up if the Scorchers are at full strength, but Whiteman has given Adam Voges and his coaching panel plenty to consider. The keeper-batsman has opened the Sheffield Shield season with scores of 114, 65, 18, 4 and 117 not out to make an early statement. He might only get a look in for Perth if Livingstone or Roy are unavailable.
TIM'S VERDICT: Whiteman has rocketed into calculations after a strong start to the summer in the Sheffield Shield. If one of Roy or Livingstone isn't available for Round 1 he could be a bolter for an opening spot alongside Josh Inglis.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Like Bancroft, where does he bat - if at all? Form is great, though, so I'll be tracking him closely.
Oliver Davies (Sydney Thunder) $42,000 BAT
A wrist injury prevented one of the brightest young batting talents in the country from making his BBL debut last season. That means KFC SuperCoaches will benefit from being able to choose Davies at base price again this season. Davies opened the NSW grade cricket season with knocks of 130 off 86 balls and 91 off 86 for Manly-Warringah. There's a question mark over where he fits in the Thunder batting line-up but be ready for fireworks when he debuts.
TIM'S VERDICT: We were hoping to see Davies last season before injury intervened. He's going to face a hard task to force his way into the Thunder team after Ben Cutting's arrival.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Look him up on YouTube. Hopefully he can break in - if so, I'll pick him.
Matthew Gilkes (Sydney Thunder) $62,500 WKP-BAT BBL09 avg: 19
The young gloveman took the mantle as Sydney Thunder's No. 1 keeper last season. The signing of Englishman Alex Hales pushed him into the middle order in BBL09 after Gilkes had his first taste of the BBL as an opener. With Hales re-signed for another season and destined to partner Usman Khawaja, expect Gilkes to bat at No. 5 or No.6. At a low price, he seems likely to be a popular bench wicketkeeping option.
TIM'S VERDICT: Really keen on Gilkes. His first knock of the NSW Premier Cricket season was a double ton from 203 balls. He's likely to be my bench keeper, unless I choose him as a batting option to provide captaincy loophole options.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Perfect for the bench.
Wil Parker (Hobart Hurricanes) $42,000 BWL
Victorian leg-spinner Parker has signed his first BBL deal with the Hurricanes after breaking into the Bushrangers Shield team last summer. Opportunities might be limited unless Hobart fails to sign an experienced spinner, but rookies who can double as a captaincy loophole option often have plenty of value.
TIM'S VERDICT: I'd rather pick a $42k player who is going to play regularly or has DPP status.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Hurricanes' assistant coach Ben Rohrer says Parker might get his opportunity in BBL10, given he's currently the only full-time spinner in the squad.
Will Pucovski (Melbourne Stars) $42,000 BAT
Days after signing his first BBL contract, Pucovski thrust himself back onto the Test radar with a brilliant double ton against South Australia in the Sheffield Shield. He's going to be a popular SuperCoach BBL cheapie based on his talent, as long as he's not thrown into the Indian series. If that's the case, he'll be a perfect mid-season downgrade target.
TIM'S VERDICT: Just hope he isn't stuck at No. 5 behind the likes of Stoinis and Maxwell. I'd love him to open as a foil for Stoinis which would make him a perfect KFC SuperCoach cash cow.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: Like Harris, there's more than 200 reasons to consider the young gun. But, again, his BBL role will be the key.
Noor Ahmad (Melboune Renegades) $62,500 BWL
The 15-year-old spinner from Afghanistan (yes … 15) will bring a rare skill set to the BBL as a left-arm wrist spinner. He's only played one first-class match but has 19 wickets in his 15 career T20s, playing in Afghanistan's Twenty20 competition. The Renegades are very bullish about his talents and had reportedly been tracking Noor for a year before officially signing him for BBL10.
TIM'S VERDICT: He seems likely to get early opportunities with Imran Tahir not arriving until Christmas. Crazy to think a 15-year-old could play in the BBL, let alone be considered a KFC SuperCoach cash cow. But if he's named for Round 1, he'll be in my side as a bench cash generator.
THE PHANTOM'S VERDICT: What were you doing when you were 15? I can't remember, either. But Afghanistan spinners are the T20 masters. Consider.
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Originally published as Green, then who? SuperCoach BBL's best bargain buys