Melbourne Renegades BBL preview: Club rebuilds bowling attack after dire season
The only way is up after last season with a host of new overseas names key to their hopes
Coach Michael Klinger
Squad Noor Ahmad (Afg), Cameron Boyce, Brody Couch, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Peter Hatzoglou, Jon Holland, Benny Howell (Eng), Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Mohammad Nabi (Afg), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Rilee Rossouw (SA), Will Sutherland, Imran Tahir (SA), Imad Wasim (Pak), Beau Webster
In Noor Ahmad, Josh Lalor (Heat), James Pattinson (Heat), Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge (Heat), Rilee Rossouw, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim
Out Dan Christian (Sixers), Tom Cooper (Strikers), Jack Wildermuth (Heat)
Overseas player availability Noor Ahmad (available from Dec 18), Mohammad Nabi (available from Dec to Jan 9), Rilee Rossouw (all season), Imran Tahir (available from Jan 9), Imad Wasim (available from Dec 26)
Last season: 8th
The Renegades had a horror defence of their title in BBL09. They lost their first eight games under new coach Michael Klinger and never recovered, managing just three wins for the tournament. Their attack, which was the key to their title in 2018-19, really struggled to contain opponents and they simply couldn't score enough runs to overcome that. They have gone on a very specific recruiting drive to bolster the attack for this season.
James Pattinson will be the only local player affected by the Australia Test squad bubble but they should have full availability for the rest of the local players although Marcus Harris will miss the opening two games due to Australia A duty. Their five overseas players will be in and out at various times. Rilee Rossouw is available all season but his compatriot Imran Tahir won't be available until January 9. Noor Ahmad and Mohammad Nabi will miss the first two games because of delayed starts to quarantine, but will be fine until January 9 when Nabi is heading to the UAE for international duty. Ahmad will remain with the Renegades. Imad Wasim is due to head over after Pakistan's series in New Zealand.
Player to watch
Will Sutherland has already had an impact as a bowling allrounder in Sheffield Shield and one-day cricket for Victoria but that has not yet translated to the BBL for the Renegades. He is only 21, so expectations do need to be tempered in what can be the toughest form to master for young players. However, with the way the Renegades have set up their squad, and the performance of their bowlers last season, Sutherland becomes an extremely important piece for the balance of their XI. If he can have an impact with bat and ball, it will give the Renegades a lot more flexibility with their line-up, even with the new sub-rule coming into effect.
Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
The Renegades won the 2018-19 BBL by virtue of being the best bowling team. However, in 2019 they were the worst bowling team conceding runs at 8.55 per over and and average of 32.59. They also took only 69 wickets compared to the finalists Stars who took 114 wickets. The addition of Noor Ahmed and Imran Tahir could help in solving the problem.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne