Melbourne Stars have poached two key players from their cross-town rivals Melbourne Renegades, signing multi-year deals with Brad Hodge and Glenn Maxwell. The defections are a major blow for the Renegades, who finished second last on the Big Bash League table last summer and could yet lose their captain Andrew McDonald, who is believed to be considering a change of teams.
Thursday was a day of big moves in the contract window, as Perth Scorchers confirmed they had signed Pat Cummins, who last year was contracted by Sydney Sixers. The Cummins move had been revealed earlier in the week by the Sixers general manager Stuart Clark, and the Scorchers made the deal official on Thursday, also adding Mitchell Marsh to their group.
"There is going to be nothing subtle about our game plan. It will be based around pure aggression, and Pat and Mitch embody everything about that," Lachlan Stevens, the Scorchers coach, said. "Pat is the most exciting talent in Australian cricket. We want batsmen who play with intent and pacemen who bowl fast, and Pat certainly ticks the second box."
In Melbourne, the major move of the day was the Stars attracting Hodge and Maxwell from the Renegades, Hodge for two years and Maxwell for four. The Stars were a stronger performing side than the Renegades last summer, when they finished fourth and narrowly missed a place in the final.
Their stocks will be boosted by the addition of Hodge, 37, who no longer plays first-class or one-day cricket and is second only to David Hussey on the all-time run tally in Twenty20s. Maxwell, 23, is a powerful striker of the ball and has scored 178 runs at 59.33 and a strike rate of 178 for Hampshire in the county Twenty20 competition this year.
Hodge said the chance to finish his career at the MCG, where the Stars are based, instead of at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne's Docklands, was a key factor in his decision.
"For me it just felt right to return to the MCG and probably finish off my career here," Hodge told reporters in Melbourne. "A lot of my fans are from the MCG, I am a Melbourne Cricket Club member, I am a Melbourne footy club supporter, so for me everything in my sporting life happens here. It is where I have played and it has been my second home for 17 years."
Ian Chappell, the Stars chairman of selectors, said: "Brad has been a very successful and popular player for Victoria throughout his career and we're looking forward to him being a stable influence on the Stars batting line-up. Glenn is a dynamic player, capable of influencing matches in a number of different ways. He's the type of player who can energise a team and our fans."
In other signings on Thursday, the England batsman Owais Shah confirmed he would again play for Hobart Hurricanes, after he was the fourth-leading run scorer in the tournament last season. Shah, 33, who has not played for his country in nearly three years, signed a two-year deal with the Hurricanes, who have also gained Ben Dunk from Sydney Thunder and re-signed fast bowler Michael Hogan.
"It was disappointing to fall in the semi-finals but I can't question the professionalism of the squad and coaching staff at the Hobart Hurricanes," Shah said. "I loved living in Hobart with my family and when the time came to decide I really had no hesitation in committing to the Hurricanes again.
"I think there's a strong feeling of unfinished business within the squad and I'm looking forward to getting back among the boys and preparing as best we can for the next campaign."
In other signings, the allrounder Daniel Christian agreed to a three-year deal with Brisbane Heat, his team from last summer, while the fast bowlers Kane Richardson and Gary Putland committed to the Adelaide Strikers.