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News

Rashid will provide star turn but Strikers bank on shrewd signings

Travis Head and Alex Carey will return after the Tests while they have looked beyond the obvious overseas names

Harry Nielsen and Rashid Khan celebrate, Brisbane Heat vs Adelaide Strikers, BBL 2021-22, Brisbane, January 12, 2022

Adelaide Strikers will want to make the most of Rashid Khan before he departs  •  Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Captain Travis Head
Coach Jason Gillespie
Squad Wes Agar, Cameron Boyce, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, Ryan Gibson, Colin de Grandhomme, Travis Head, Adam Hose, Henry Hunt, Thomas Kelly, Rashid Khan, Chris Lynn, Ben Manenti, Harry Nielsen, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Henry Thornton, Jake Weatherald
In Cameron Boyce, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Hose, Chris Lynn, Ben Manenti Out Spencer Johnson, Liam O'Connor, Matthew Renshaw, Liam Scott, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall, George Garton, Fawad Ahmad

What happened in the draft

Unsurprisingly, Strikers held on to star spinner Rashid Khan with their retention card after Melbourne Stars made a bid for him. But there was widespread shock when New Zealand allrounder Colin de Grandhomme's name was called out but just days later he announced his retirement from international cricket. English batter Adam Hose was Strikers' final selection after strong performances in the T20 Blast and Hundred.

Last season: The Challenger

Strikers struggled early in the season but importantly collected bonus points, which kept them afloat even after a six-game losing streak. Eventually Strikers hit their straps to squeeze into the finals. With momentum and the return of Travis Head and Alex Carey from international duties, Strikers had thrilling victories at the MCG over Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder to qualify for The Challenger against two-time defending champions Sydney Sixers. In a classic at the SCG, with a spot in the final at stake, Strikers appeared set to defend 168 only for allrounder Hayden Kerr to play an all-time great BBL innings to steal victory for Sixers on the last ball. Strikers agonisingly fell short of the final to end a rollercoaster of a season.

International impact

As usual they will miss Test players Head and Carey, but should have them back for a stint after the South Africa Test series. Rashid will only be available for half the season due to signing with the new South Africa T20 league, but de Grandhomme and Hose will be available throughout.

Key player

He may be 38, but veteran quick Peter Siddle remains key for Strikers who are a little thin with their pace stocks. He hasn't lost a beat with the former Test star the leading wicket taker in last season's BBL with 30 scalps and he also took the captaincy reins when Head was on international duties. Siddle's yorkers at the death might be the best in the business and he's won countless games over the years for Strikers through his composure under pressure. He has been in strong form for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield to prove he's ageless and primed for another big BBL season.

Young player to watch

Thomas Kelly showed glimpses of his talent last season when the 21-year-old established a permanent place in Strikers' middle-order. He averaged 21 with a strike rate of 129.7 - modest figures but Kelly produced occasional fireworks to underline his hard-hitting potential. He's been talked up for some time and Kelly earlier in the year made his first-class debut with South Australia. A BBL breakout is certainly on the cards.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth