There was a strong England presence in this year’s Big Bash and several players are hoping their performances can help them work their way into the national team’s plans for the T20 World Cup.
The eleventh season of the Big Bash, Australia’s premier T20 franchise competition, ended with the Perth Scorchers winning the title for a record fourth time.
There was a strong home presence in this year’s competition, with each of the eight teams using at least one England player during the season.
With this year’s T20 World Cup taking place in Australia, several players may well have advanced their case to feature in England’s plans with strong performances.
Last year, Tymal Mills earned a place in England’s World Cup squad after a four-year absence from the international scene, with a combination of his own good form and Jofra’s elbow injury Archer who gave him the opportunity.
Mike Owen – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)
This year, several other fringe players hope to do the same and Sports mirror took a look at five players whose Big Bash performances could help them find their way into England’s plans.
Ian Cockbain, who played for the Adelaide Strikers with 239 runs at an average of nearly 60, is not making the cut with England unlikely to consider him.
Sydney Thunder’s Alex Hales is also absent, with England unwilling to offer him a lifeline despite his continued success in the T20 leagues around the world.
Laurie Evans – Perth Scorchers
Perhaps the biggest underdog on the list; Evans is an exceptional T20 cricketer and had a stellar Big Bash that culminated in a winning run in the final.
Evans crushed 76 steps on just 41 balls as the Scorchers beat the Sydney Sixers by 79 runs, tying Kevin Pietersen’s record for the all-time fastest half-century in a Big Bash final.
Finishing with 361 carries at an average of 40.11 and a strike rate of 144.40, Evans now has only one outside chance to force his way into England’s plans.
However, if he can back up his Big Bash form with stellar T20 Blast and Hundred campaigns, he can still break through on the English side of T20I.
Albert Perez – CA/Australia Cricket via Getty Images)
Saqib Mahmood – Sydney Thunder
A surprise omission from last year’s T20 World Cup squad, Mahmood is emerging as an impressive T20 bowler and underlined his credentials with a stellar campaign for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash.
Able to consistently hit the 90mph mark, Mahmood picked up 13 wickets in six games at an average of 16.15.
On his debut, the 24-year-old won 4-22 against the Brisbane Heat, knocking out internationals Chris Lynn, Ben Duckett and Sam Heazlett along with captain Jimmy Peirson.
With places up for grabs among the English designers at the moment, Mahmood is well placed to compete in the World Cup.
Mike Owen/Getty Images)
Joe Clarke – Melbourne Stars
Uncapped by England in any format, Clarke is widely regarded as one of county cricket’s most talented young strikers.
Already a regular on the T20 franchise circuit, Clarke scored more points than any other foreign player in this year’s Big Bash.
With 419 at an average of 32.23 and a strike rate of 151.26, the 25-year-old was in exceptional form for the Melbourne Stars and scored five half-centuries in 13 innings.
As a top-notch striker, England’s opportunities are limited given the lack of options at their disposal in T20 cricket, but Clarke is surely not far from breaking through in the side.
Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)
Ben Duckett – Brisbane Heat
Having been in and around the limited England squad since his ODI debut in 2016, Duckett has won just four caps in whiteball cricket.
This is mainly down to England’s wealth of top-notch hitters but, like Clarke, he waits in the wings if an opportunity arises.
Duckett was the Brisbane Heat’s top scorer in this year’s tournament and, after two particularly solid years in the T20 blast for Nottinghamshire, he will be desperate to add to his four caps.
Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Sam Billings – Sydney Thunder
A perennial drink carrier in England’s limited overs, Billings’ international career was perhaps best summed up by his World Cup experience last year, where he played just once and did not beat.
Now 30, Billings has spoken openly about his desire to play more regularly for England and he hopes his performances for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash will give him more opportunities ahead of this year’s World Cup. .
Before being drafted for the final Ashes Test and then flying to Barbados for the T20I series against the West Indies, Billings scored 284 points with an average of 40.57 and a strike rate of 153.51.
Despite England’s embarrassment over T20 batting riches, those kinds of numbers are hard to ignore and Billings will have the opportunity to impress ahead of the World Cup. He just needs to make the most of it.