Big Bash League 2012-13 January 9, 2013

Hobart Hurricanes call on Mark Higgs

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mark Higgs, the left-arm spinner who last played state cricket in 2005, has won a surprise call-up to the Big Bash League for the Hobart Hurricanes. Higgs, 36, has been confirmed as a replacement player for Ben Hilfenhaus, who was ruled out of the rest of the tournament due to injury, and could make his Twenty20 debut against the Brisbane Heat on Saturday.

The chance for a BBL deal appeared to have passed Higgs by when the Adelaide Strikers preferred fellow veteran Brad Young after trialing both men before the tournament began. But the Hurricanes apparently took note and have gambled on Higgs, who is the coach of the ACT Comets Futures League side and until last summer was the captain.

The absence of fellow left-arm orthodox bowler Xavier Doherty, who is part of Australia's ODI squad, could make Higgs an important player for the Hurricanes if they reach the finals. An allrounder who played for both New South Wales and South Australia from 1997-98 until late 2005, Higgs was good enough to play for Australia A and toured with the national side to the ICC KnockOut Trophy in Kenya.

In other squad changes on Wednesday, the batsman Travis Head was approved as a replacement for the injured James Smith in the Adelaide Strikers squad, while Adam Crosthwaite could play for the Sydney Sixers in their last qualifying match. Brad Haddin, the Sixers' first-choice gloveman, is part of the ODI squad and the backup Daniel Smith faces a fitness test ahead of Wednesday night's game against the Melbourne Renegades.

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  • David on January 10, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    You get good value with Higgsy. He not only bats and bowls, he is more than happy to give the umpires the benefit of his experience - constantly!!!

  • Ronald on January 10, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    He'll be lucky to get a game as Krejza will most likely play. I just hope the selectors finally dump Birt & give Wells a chance.

  • Andrew on January 10, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    @ PFEL on (January 09 2013, 13:18 PM GMT) - mate, thats the thing - our elite players get paid sweet FA, to play in the BBL! The Salary cap per franchise across 17 players is $1 million. That is about $60k each (not much more than match fees for a Test match!)- if divided evenly (which it wouldn't be). Centrally contracted players are paid 5 to 10 times the BBL contracts by Cric Oz.

  • Tim on January 9, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    I'm not all that happy that older players are getting a shot ahead of young players but in the end there are more BBL teams than states, so the talent pool will be stretched. If a player with Higgs' background was brought into the IPL nobody would raise an eyebrow. 40 year old nobodies on their lists are quite common. Australian fans need to get used to BBL teams selections which will be for the benefit of themselves, not the country. I just hope young spinners keep getting developed by the states and don't try to turn themselves into T20 specialists to win these deals.

  • Adrian on January 9, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    The difference between Higgs vs the other retired players like Hogg, MacGill and Warne is that Higgs was never any good to begin with.

  • Robert on January 9, 2013, 22:21 GMT

    It demonstrates what a flawed product 20/20 is when the guys who benefit most from the format are average has-been spinners like Hogg, Young and now Higgs. Schofield in England when it first started there too.

  • Patrick on January 9, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    Interesting theory @meety, but who's going to be the one to tell our "elite players" that they're going to be taking a huge paycut because they can't earn the majority of their wages in the BBL . . .

  • $$ milind on January 9, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    these BBL sides look very weak without d aussie stars .. important players missing from d league

  • Barry on January 9, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    From what I've seen in the BBL Australian batsmen are so poor against spin that any tweaker is a chance.

  • Angry on January 9, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Yeah, he still played as an allrounder for ACT and opened for them in t20s, so he could be pretty handy.