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BBL all-time XI: who makes it?

As the tournament enters its tenth season, we've taken a stab at picking the standout team

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Getty Images

Getty Images

As the BBL enters its tenth season, we thought it would be fun to have a stab a picking an all-time XI from the tournament. So here it is. A large amount of it based on statistics (minimum of 30 matches) but there was also the aim of wanting to build a balanced team and there's a bit of gut instinct thrown in as well. And, at the end of the day, it's the sort of thing no one ever agrees on anyway. Later in the week, we will have a piece using ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats data, which could throw up some interesting names not on this list.

Aaron Finch (Renegades)

Innings: 63, Runs: 2252, Average: 38.82, S/R: 136.65, Hundreds: 2, Fifties: 18
Australia's limited-overs captain is currently the second-highest run-scorer in BBL history. In five of the nine seasons, he has averaged over 40, in two of them over 50, and only twice has his strike rate dipped below 125 in a campaign - one of those was in the Renegades' title triumph of 2018-19. His two centuries have come seven seasons apart: the first was 111 off 65 balls against the Stars in 2012-13 and then last season he hammered 109 off 68 deliveries against the Sixers.

D'Arcy Short (Hurricanes)

Innings: 43, Runs: 1764, Average: 46.42, S/R: 143.29, Hundreds: 2, Fifties: 15 | Wickets: 21, Average: 32.66, Econ: 8.75
A shorter career span than many in this list, Short only began in the 2016-17 season but has been prolific for the Hurricanes and is hard to ignore. He holds the highest batting average in the tournament's history. Although his strike rate dropped a little last season, it remains imposing, and using the same cut-off as for this XI of 30 matches, it is the eighth-highest in the competition. In 2017-18, he flayed 122 off 69 balls against the Heat where the next-highest score in the innings was 19. He is a more-than-useful left-arm wristspinner as well.

Chris Lynn (Heat)

Innings: 75, Runs: 2332, Average: 37.61, S/R: 150.35, Hundreds: 1, Fifties: 18
The leading run-scorer in BBL, Lynn has had a number of moments that remain YouTube highlights even though the Heat have flattered to deceive. There are six million views on one clip of him launching Shaun Tait out of the Gabba for one of the biggest sixes in BBL history, and then there was the time when he took Ben Hilfenhaus for five consecutive sixes. In that 2016-17 campaign, his strike rate was 177.58. Last summer, he was on track to score the fastest BBL century when he fell for 94 off 35 balls against the Sixers.

Matthew Wade (Hurricanes, Renegades, Stars)

Innings: 61, Runs: 1726, Average: 33.19, S/R: 141.94, Hundreds: 1, Fifties: 12
As wicketkeeper: Innings: 51, Runs: 1304, Average: 30.32, S/R: 134.98, Fifties: 8
Though he gave it up last season, Wade has kept wicket for the majority if his BBL career and gets that role in this team. Batting at No. 4 is a little out of position as his most prolific returns have come when opening, especially alongside Short for the Hurricanes, but as someone who has batted from one to six in his career, we are confident he can adapt. Alex Carey came close to taking this spot, while the other wicketkeeper with over 1000 runs in the BBL is Tim Paine.

Glenn Maxwell (Renegades, Stars)

Innings: 69, Runs: 1826, Average: 32.60, S/R: 150.28, Fifties: 14 | Wickets: 26, Average: 31.80, Econ: 7.51
A player capable of some extraordinary things, especially with the bat and in the field, Maxwell's strike rate for a season has not dipped below 142 since BBL01 when he played for the Renegades. In the last five seasons, he has averaged between 33 and 39. Some of his standouts include 82 off 49 balls against the Stars in the 2012-2013 season, 82 off 43 against the Sixers in 2018-19, and two innings last season - 83 off 39 against the Heat and an unbeaten 83 off 45 against the Renegades. Also a valuable option with the ball.
Innings: 68, Runs: 1199, Average: 21.80, S/R: 145.50, Fifties: 2 | Wickets: 63, Average: 30.17, Econ: 8.82
The No. 6 spot in this team was the trickiest to fill. A few specialist batsmen were in the mix - notably Jono Wells and George Bailey, who have been excellent finishers - but in the end it went to one of only two players (the second one is next) to have completed the double of 1000 runs and 50 wickets in the tournament. Batting in this position is more about impact than longevity, and Cutting's strike rate of 167.18 batting at No. 6 in the BBL stands him in good stead. However, it is worth adding that his most spectacular display came when opening against the Stars in early 2019 when he struck 80 off 30 balls as he and Max Bryant hammered an astonishing opening stand of 158 in ten overs. He has now moved to the Thunder.

Daniel Christian (Stars, Hurricanes, Renegades)

Innings: 84, Runs: 1473, Average: 23.38, S/R: 132.46, Fifties: 6 | Wickets: 67, Average: 27.46, Econ: 8.26
Christian is the other player to complete the 1000/50 double. Having collected T20 titles around the world, he was part of the Renegades' come-from-behind title triumph in 2018-19. He is a cool, calm finisher with the bat and can take on a variety of roles with the ball. His best figures of a long and winding T20 career came in the BBL when he claimed 5 for 14 playing for the Hurricanes against the Strikers in 2016-17.

Rashid Khan (Strikers)

Innings: 40, Wickets: 56, Average: 17.66, Econ: 6.36
The only overseas player in this XI (perhaps highlighting one of the leagues' challenges), Khan is among the tournament's leading lights and most recognisable figures despite having just three seasons under his belt. He has the best economy rate for anyone to have played more than 20 matches and his strike rate of 16.6 is best among spinners to have bowled a minimum of 250 deliveries. His average and economy have risen each campaign as batsmen get more used to him, but his best BBL figures of 4 for 22 came last season. Cameron Boyce, Adam Zampa and Fawad Ahmed are other legspinners with excellent BBL records.

Peter Siddle (Renegades, Strikers)

Innings: 38, Wickets: 41, Average: 21.73, Econ: 6.94
This one might raise a few eyebrows, and it does come from a smaller sample size of data that most of the other names, but Siddle's BBL career is a story of reinvention as he turned himself into a go-to T20 bowler when he joined the Strikers after not playing a single game during the 2016-17 season because of a back injury. He is the second-most economical quick to have bowled more than 100 overs in the tournament (behind the man at No. 11 in this side) and his form was enough to earn, albeit briefly, a return to Australia's limited-overs side in early 2019.

Ben Laughlin (Hurricanes, Strikers, Heat)

Innings: 87, Wickets: 110, Average: 22.12, Econ: 8.00
The leading wicket-taker in BBL history, Laughlin has bowled a lot of tough overs. He is a specialist at the death, having sent down comfortably the most deliveries in the 17-20 over period - 664 with the next most being Kane Richardson's 452 . He took 16 wickets in the Strikers' victorious 2017-18 campaign and was also a key part of their consecutive semi-final runs in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Jason Behrendorff (Scorchers)

Innings: 43, Wickets: 54, Average: 20.51, Econ: 6.78
Having a left-arm quick is almost a prerequisite for T20 cricket. A few come into contention for this team, but Behrendorff gets the nod. He is a fearsome white-ball bowler when fit and on song (he missed all of last summer), generating pace and swing. His economy rate of under seven stands out and puts him in the top ten of those to have bowled a minimum of 250 deliveries, and he is third among the quicks in a list dominated by spinners.

12th man: Cameron Boyce (Strikers, Hurricanes, Renegades)

Innings: 75, Wickets: 79, Average: 25.45, Econ: 7.65
Depending on conditions there might be need for an extra frontline spinner, so we have included a 12th man. It goes to the legspinner who has had a fascinating and productive career but does not hold a state contract. In five of his eight BBL seasons, Boyce has taken at least ten wickets and he played a starring role in the Renegades' 2018-19 success. His international career is stalled on seven T20Is - the last back in 2016 - but he did get included in a Cricket Australia XI last season.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo