The Big Bash has only been going since 2011 but its popularity continues to soar and the 2017/18 season is eagerly anticipated by fans across Australia. It benefits from an extended 43-game season this time around and will be taken to new markets to further boost its status. Many of the world’s biggest hitters will descend on Australia for the season and fans can look forward to some electrifying performances with the bat as the very nature of Twenty20 cricket encourages players to take risks and go for broke with monster shots. Here we count down the five biggest hitters that will be plying their trade in the Big Bash this coming season:
The controversial former England captain will always split opinion, but there is no denying his talent with the bat. Last season was a pretty poor one by his high standards, but he still ended up with the eight highest run count in the league. Pietersen is vastly experienced and when he turns it on he can be devastating, so the Stars will have to manage him carefully if he is to be their star import. He helped them reach the Big Final in 2016 and he is a game changer, as he showed with consecutive half-centuries against the Renegades and the Thunder last season, but he has to deliver in the big games towards the end of the campaign.
The Perth Scorchers have dominated the Big Bash since its inception, winning it in three out of six seasons. They are the current champions and they are clear favourites to win it again in 2017/18, priced at an attractive 4.00. Klinger is their main man and finished with the third highest number of runs in the Big Bash last season. He put the Sydney Sixers to the sword in the Big Final, finishing with 71 runs (not out) and Perth secured a dominant nine-wicket victory. This year Klinger, who is 36, became the oldest player to debut for Australia in a T20 international when he played against Sri Lanka in February. He is a joint second for the highest number of centuries in Twenty20 cricket and has enjoyed a long and illustrious career at the top.
The Australia T20 captain is one of the world’s finest batsmen and will be central to the Melbourne Renegades’ chances of reaching the Big Final this season. The 30-year-old has spent the past six years representing his country and has also gained a wealth of experience in Indian Premier League for a range of teams and for Surrey in county cricket. He holds the record for the highest ever score in a T20 international, having scored 156 runs off just 63 balls against England at Southampton’s Rose Bowl. The innings included 11 fours and 14 sixes, which is also a record. Last season he finished with the second highest number of runs in the Big Bash and had a better average than Klinger, Pietersen and various other lauded batsmen. Since its inception in 2011, he has the most runs in the Big Bash, ahead of second-placed Klinger.
Twenty20 specialist Dunk finished top of the pile last season by scoring 364 runs in eight games for the Adelaide Strikers. They are outsiders in the betting for 2017/18 and will badly miss Dunk, who has moved to the Melbourne Stars, instantly making them second favourites. He has represented Australia five times in T20Is and his signature is a real coup for the Stars, who will have a formidable team by putting him in with the likes of John Hastings, Glenn Maxwell and Pietersen.
Dunk’s numbers were impressive last season, but they pale in comparison to those posted by Lynn, who got 309 runs in five matches and had by far the best strike rate in the league, with 17 fours and a league-leading 24 sixes. His career has been sadly dogged by injury, but when he is fit and firing on all cylinders he is absolutely devastating with the bat. He got the fifth largest number of runs last season despite playing only half the amount of games as some of his rivals, and was named Player of the Tournament, ahead of Dunk, Sean Abbott and all the rest. If Brisbane Heat can get a full campaign out of him and Brendon McCullum they will be a force to be reckoned with. The highlight of the tournament was the 85 he hit against the Thunder and 84 against the Hurricanes in successive games, and he showed what a complete batsman he is. Lynn is the most exciting talent to look forward to in this season’s Big Bash.