Almanac Cricket: Hobart Hurricanes – a BBL07 review

The Hurricanes BBL07 Campaign really was a rollercoaster from start to finish.


Going way back to the winter months of 2017, the ‘Canes made two big announcements – firstly George Bailey decided to stay in Hobart, and secondly world renowned coach Gary Kirsten from South Africa was to be at the helm. Then all eyes were on which the two overseas players would join the franchise. The Hurricanes have had mixed fortunes at best with their overseas player signings in recent times, and with perhaps not the strongest squad on paper compared to other sides, it seemed important to nail the two international selections. The Canes announced English fast bowlers Tom Curran & Tymal Mills as the men to lead the attack for the upcoming season.


A snag was hit however when Tom Curran was selected for the England Ashes squad, and to make matters worse, keeper and opening batsman Tim Paine was selected for Australia. The Hurricanes management quickly adjusted for these unexpected omissions, replacing Curran with another Englishman quick, the relatively unknown Joffra Archer, while trading in Matthew Wade to take the gloves in and sending young Hobart grown talent in Beau Webster to the Melbourne Renegades.


So with the squad complete, on paper, I thought the bowling attack, led by Mills alongside the exciting Archer, spin twins Rose and Boyce, experienced allrounder Dan Christian as well as the slightly more inexperienced talent of Milenko, Kingston, Rainbird and Meredith, meant the bowling department was quite strong. Having watched Ty Mills play in the UK a couple of seasons earlier, I thought he was going to be a fantastic addition for the Canes. He has the ability to bowl 150km/h left arm in swingers as well as having a deadly slower ball. He did things to English domestic batsman that Mitch Starc has been doing in Australia for some time!


As for the batting, I thought the experienced Bailey was the key. While the more inexperienced D’arcy Short and Ben McDermott had showed moments of brilliance the season before, and both undeniably had an amazing power hitting ability, I thought they may be a little inconsistent. While Wade and Christian were both experienced campaigners with the bat, I thought the batting perhaps lacked a bit of depth coming into BBL07. Casting an eye on the other squads, I had Hobart finishing perhaps 6th or 7th, while most bookmakers had them finishing last.


Now the tournament is over, my pre-season predictions were well off the mark. Ty Mills was unfortunately a huge flop and was dropped for the finals campaign. To his credit, his attitude seemed great throughout despite clearly having a tough time with things on the field, but his inability to execute in big moments really hurt him. The unknown Joffra Archer was a revelation – he was arguably the best fast bowler of the tournament, delivering brilliance in big moments at the end of close matches. As for the batting, the usually reliable George Bailey really struggled all tournament, however Short and McDermott proved they are guns, consistently making big scores and propelling the Canes to the finals. Short in particular was outstanding, earning himself player of the tournament and a national debut.


In the end, a bit of luck saw Hobart scrape into the semi-finals. A brilliant and dominant semi final performance took the Canes to the big dance, but a very lacklustre first innings bowling display meant the game was effectively over only 15 overs into the game. Despite young Adelaide batsman Jake Weatherald batting superbly for a hundred, it was frustrating sitting watching the Canes bowl to his strength, and to the shortest boundaries at Adelaide Oval, square of the wicket. The Adelaide quicks showed how it should be done with the ball, making the Cane’s batsman hit to the long straight boundaries.


The whole tournament showed what a fickle game T20 can be. It really does just take one special individual performance, or a couple of slices of luck – an ill timed skied ball falling in a gap rather than to a fielder for example, to win or lose a match for a team.


With the ladder so close, one of these small moments can be the difference between home finals and missing finals completely. The beauty of the shorter form is games can change so quickly – one good over for a team can completely turn a match on its head. As for the BBL itself, the big bucks from TV rights are always bound to win out, but my main complaints are that the matches are on too late and the competition goes on for a little too long. I feel the public lose a little interest by the end of the tournament. As for the starting times, a game on weeknights finishing close t0 11pm is far too late for kids watching on TV, let alone attending the matches live. Change for seasons to come seems unlikely however, in fact Cricket Australia are considering adding more matches next year. Money talks.



AFL loving cricketer.

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