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New era at Hobart Hurricanes as they chase an elusive title

They have an experienced squad and all eyes will be on whether Ricky Ponting's planning brings success

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
15-Dec-2022
Matthew Wade leads a squad with some familiar faces and fresh names  •  Getty Images

Matthew Wade leads a squad with some familiar faces and fresh names  •  Getty Images

Captain Matthew Wade
Coach Jeff Vaughan
Squad Asif Ali (Pakistan), Faheem Ashraf (Pakistan), Iain Carlisle, Zak Crawley (England), Tim David, Paddy Dooley, Nathan Ellis, Caleb Jewell, Shadab Khan (Pakistan), Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Jimmy Neesham (New Zealand), Mitch Owen, Joel Paris, Wil Parker, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Chris Tremain, Matthew Wade, Mac Wright
In Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Zak Crawley, Paddy Dooley, Shadan Khan, Jimmy Neesham, Billy Stanlake, Chris Tremain
Out Peter Handscomb, Sandeep Lamicchane, Tom Rogers, Scott Boland, Jordan Thompson, Harry Brook, Tom Lammonby

What happened in the draft

New Hurricanes head of strategy Ricky Ponting wanted a Pakistan flavour in his picks. Shadab Khan was number one priority for Hurricanes and they were delighted to nab him as a Platinum Player. Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf were more left-field picks. Ponting wanted to make the transition easier for the Pakistan trio and was also hoping for full availability from all three. But Shadab has Pakistan limited overs duties in January while Faheem is currently playing in the Test series against England. Zak Crawley and James Neesham have been signed as cover.

Last season: 5th

Hurricanes had high hopes last year having assembled a strong squad. But they lost three of their first four and won just seven home and away games to scrape into fifth spot to play in the Eliminator and were beaten soundly by Adelaide Strikers. Ben McDermott had an outstanding season with the bat scoring two centuries but he got very little support from the rest of the order with Tim David chronically underused. The attack looked strong on paper but they struggled to get on the park with Nathan Ellis playing just eight games while Riley Meredith played only 11. Overseas duo of Sandeep Lamichhane and Jordan Thompson also struggled with the ball.

International impact

Hurricanes prioritised full availability in their overseas selections but Pakistan's international schedule and usual selection merry-go-round has required some replacement players. Shadab is available for the early part of the tournament but will leave in January for Pakistan's limited-over series with New Zealand. Faheem's shock call-up to Pakistan's Test side has meant Hurricanes have had to add Neesham for the early part of the tournament, with Crawley coming in later post the England series. Crawley's arrival will be interesting given the local top-order quality that Hurricanes already have.

Key player

Ponting thinks D'Arcy Short is going to be a key player for Hurricanes but given the batting depth, it is the bowling that will need to stand up.Nathan Ellis has the chance to really stake a claim as one of Australia's premier T20 bowlers and put himself squarely in the frame for national selection as Australia's T20 squad is likely to be reshaped ahead of the 2024 World Cup. Ellis will be the go-to bowler to bowl all of the tough overs in the Surge and at the death given they have a lot new ball specialists in the squad with Meredith, Billy Stanlake, Chris Tremain and Joel Paris all part of Hurricanes plans. If Ellis has a good season, Hurricanes will be right in the title mix.
Young player to watch Hurricanes have an incredibly experienced squad and it will be hard for young players to break into the XI. But given Shadab is unlikely to be available in January there is an opportunity for a young spinner to come in with Paddy Dooley likely to be the best option. The left-arm spinner with an unorthodox action made a name for himself last year playing as a Covid replacement player for Brisbane Heat. He has since played in the Abu Dhabi T10 and took wickets in four of the five games he played, including the scalps of Alex Hales and James Vince.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo