We’re gear­ing up for a Bash, and some top Poms are too

Adam Collins and Ge­off Lemon, from ABC ra­dio, take an off­beat look at the lat­est edi­tion of the Big Bash

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Ge­off Lemon: El Golpe Grande, they call it in Spain. The smash that is the largest. The bash that is bashed most bigly. It’s time for the Big Bash again. It doesn’t even seem strange any­more, does it? It’s kind of friendly and fa­mil­iar. Adam Collins: There’s this rhythm of the Aus­tralian sum­mer we all grew up with. But that’s en­tirely dif­fer­ent now. Ev­ery night peo­ple are tun­ing in, re­gard­less of the teams or the colours they are play­ing in. That, as much as any­thing, is sum­mer in Aus­tralia in 2016. Those who wish it were other­wise need bet­ter hob­bies. GL: I have to say, it was the colours that made it hard­est for me to ad­just at first. So much lu­mi­nous flu­o­res­cence – it was like Ken Ke­sey had or­gan­ised a game at Willy Wonka’s pri­vate co­ral reef. But my brain has fig­ured out how to turn down the ma­genta and puke-puce now, and there’s some­thing re­as­sur­ing about be­ing able to flick on the telly any given night in sum­mer and find a game. I don’t know who’s play­ing most of the time and I don’t re­mem­ber a day later, but it’s great while it’s hap­pen­ing. Soma. AC: Last sum­mer high­lighted this. When the West Indies were be­ing whacked, the sum­mer was dead. Then the Big Bash started and 80,000 showed up to the MCG – ut­terly un­heard of. No se­ri­ous player on the T20 cir­cuit wants to miss it now, Kevin Pi­etersen the case in point. Shunned by Eng­land, still pretty much a ge­nius for the Mel­bourne Stars. Los­ing so many play­ers to in­ter­na­tional du­ties, he’s clearly the most im­por­tant in de­ter­min­ing whether they can fi­nally win a comp. GL: Yeah, na­tional se­lec­tion guts a great list on pa­per. Hand­scomb for the Tests, then Faulkner, Maxwell, Zampa, and likely Hast­ings for the ODIs. The Syd­ney teams are the oth­ers los­ing bulk play­ers this year. It’s odd: in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion the Six­ers and Thun­der are the two big­gest sides. For the men they’ll both prob­a­bly strug­gle. AC: The Six­ers have shed Steve Smith on the ba­sis that he won’t play a game. Starc and Ha­zle­wood prob­a­bly won’t ei­ther,

with Maddin­son, Lyon and Bird in the Test squad as well. Even Sam Billings, their big UK sign­ing, may end up in In­dia. Coun­ter­in­tu­itively, such a tal­ented list looks set to col­lect its sec­ond wooden spoon run­ning. GL: Right, and the Thun­der have Mike Hussey re­tired, Eoin Mor­gan for five min­utes be­fore Eng­land du­ties, Khawaja in the Tests and maybe ODIs, Cum­mins in the ODIs or in­jured, An­dre Rus­sell gone for miss­ing too many drug tests, and of course the leg­endary calf mus­cle of Shane Robert Wat­son twang­ing like a De­liv­er­ance banjo. An ut­ter sham­bles for a reign­ing premier. AC: Yep, they’re shot. There’s no re­plac­ing Us­man as the in-form player on planet Earth last sum­mer. The Rene­gades have lost Chris Gayle’s runs, but have James Pat­tin­son’s pace on the come­back trail, Brad Hogg’s wrist-spin at a mil­lion years old, and Su­nil Narine’s mys­tery spin. Tremain is one of the in-form Shield bowlers in the coun­try, with a handy bloke called DJ Bravo spin­ning the tunes. All led by Aaron Finch who will be play­ing a lot more if his ten­ure in Aus­tralian ODIs is re­scinded. They’re my pick. GL: Tell him he’s dream­ing. Last sea­son showed Red Mel­bourne as an or­gan­i­sa­tion with sham­bolic man­age­ment and some pretty or­di­nary prin­ci­ples. Gayle’s ex­pul­sion looked to be Cricket Aus­tralia’s do­ing. I doubt any of that can trans­late well onto the field. My pick would be Perth, bor­ingly, to win for the 48th time. Ian Bell comes in from Eng­land – lovely timer of the ball, could be the guy to build an in­nings around. Mitch John­son comes back, can put the fright­en­ers up some play­ers and hit sixes down the or­der. Then there’s the core of lo­cal sup­port: Klinger, Vo­ges, Agar, Paris, Tye, Ban­croft, White­man, Cartwright, and a cou­ple of Marshes. How about Ade­laide? Cut off the Head and the body will die? AC: They’re an odd bunch, the Strik­ers. Al­ways good for a semi, never a fi­nal. Kieron Pol­lard back from a knee re­con­struc­tion, Dunk trans­fer­ring from Ho­bart, they’re go­ing to hit more sixes. But Adil Rashid won’t be back, the best spin­ner of last year’s comp. They wouldn’t want to lose Chris Jor­dan to Eng­land du­ties ei­ther, al­ready los­ing Travis Head for Aus­tralia. The theme con­tin­ues: teams re­main in con­tention by avoid­ing the af­flic­tion of their play­ers be­ing a bit too good. Which sets up the Heat. GL: I reckon so. Tell me, whose el­e­va­tor did Chris Lynn break wind in, to be so rarely dis­cussed for higher hon­ours? AC: Or­di­nary for Aus­tralia last sum­mer, in­jured in Sri Lanka. But the best player in the tour­na­ment last year, and cer­tainly the man so­cial me­dia loves most. Bren­don McCul­lum’s ar­rival gives bal­last and bal­lis­tics. They’re bowl­ing is weak, but I fancy they’ll have plenty to play with. GL: They have Sa­muel Badree, the leg­gie who in­spires all my lines about charg­ing and ter­mi­nals that no one ap­pre­ci­ates. Just about the hard­est T20 bowler in the world to hit, took a ridicu­lous five-for last sea­son. Ho­bart has one of the stronger bowl­ing line-ups: Shaun Tait if he can land them; Cameron Boyce, who bowled the most ex­pen­sive over in the world when he flew to Cardiff for six balls against Eng­land; and they’ve added Stu­art Broad.We saw an ad for height-en­hanc­ing shoes, I’m sure he’s wear­ing some. No mat­ter how the years tick by, he still looks like Draco Mal­foy on stilts. AC: Plenty to play for, too, if Broad wants a way back into the Eng­land team be­fore the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy. I’m sure he’ll be wel­comed warmly. Al­ways is in Aus­tralia, right? GL: Com­ing over was a bril­liant strat­egy. This way, at least one-eighth of lo­cal fans have to be nice to him.

We saw an ad for height en­hanc­ing shoes and I’m sure Broad has some. No mat­ter how the years tick by he still looks like Draco Mal­foy on stilts

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