SuperCoach BBL must-haves: Five batters to consider for your starting team

Sometimes we all need a helping hand — even in KFC SuperCoach BBL.

So if you’re padding up for the first time in BBL13 or just unsure about who to start, this is the article for you.

We’ll list five players from each KFC SuperCoach BBL position — BAT, BWL, WKP-BAT and BAT-BWL — to help you lock in your round 1 side by the first ball on December 7.

KEEPERS TO CONSIDER

Quinton de Kock (Melbourne Renegades) $180,000

The South African arrives in Australia in stunning form after compiling 594 runs in 10 innings at the ODI World Cup. He also scored those runs at a strike rate of 107. He’s good enough to absolutely dominate the BBL and will likely be opening with another overseas recruit in Joe Clarke. Expect de Kock to take the gloves while he’s here and then Clarke to take over later in the tournament. He’s the 10th most expensive player in KFC SuperCoach BBL and most expensive keeper yet almost impossible to leave out. Doing so could set you back hundreds of points as the Renegades play five times in the opening three rounds.

Sam Billings (Brisbane Heat) $116,900

The Heat play three times in round 1 and Englishman Billings is set to take the gloves in at least two of those games while Jimmy Peirson is playing for the Prime Minister’s XI. It only serves to add to the appeal of a player who likely only needs one solid score in the opening round to hit his break even of 112. His form this year hasn’t been great, but it’s hard to go passed a player with as much international experience as Billings at this price. Especially when he’s almost certain to bat in the top four so should get three opportunities in the super round to rack up SuperCoach points.

Ben McDermott (Hobart Hurricanes) $88,000

McDermott might be the most divisive player of the SuperCoach pre-season. On one hand, he’s underpriced for a player who averaged 73 KFC SuperCoach points in BBL11 — when he was the leading run scorer in the tournament with 577 runs at 48.1. His returns last summer were much more modest, which is why he’s available for less than $90k to start BBL13. McDermott’s value makes him an enticing pick, but he also doesn’t have a double until round 7. Would you be better off starting someone like Sam Whiteman, saving $26k and bringing McDermott in mid-season instead? The issue then is that he’ll likely be a lot more expensive.

Sam Whiteman (Perth Scorchers) $62,500

Back in Perth and could take the gloves if Josh Inglis is unavailable due to World Cup fatigue or being tied up with the Test squad as back-up to Alex Carey. Regardless of whether he’s keeping or not, Whiteman should bat in the top-three for the Scorchers. With a double in round 1 and after an unbeaten 137 off 124 balls in the Marsh Cup recently, Whiteman stands out as one of the better cheapies of BBL13. Perth’s second double of the season is round 6 after two byes in rounds 4 and 5. It’s worth considering whether you’d be prepared to hold Whiteman for those two rounds or whether you think he can make enough money in three rounds before starting him.

Josh Philippe (Sydney Sixers) $102,700

Philippe’s BBL12 campaign reads a lot like McDermott’s. The Sixers opener made 266 runs at an average of 17 and his strike rate dropped alarmingly from 143.5 in BBL11 to 117.7. If Philippe can go close to his efforts from two summers ago, when he compiled 429 runs, he will be a steal at this price. It wasn’t that long ago he was being touted as the future of Australian white-ball batting and his creativity at the crease was being lauded. He’s had a lean trot with the bat of late for Western Australia, but has the talent to remind the BBL just how good he is and make his $102k starting price look foolish.

Joe Clarke (Melbourne Renegades) $139,600

Clarke has defied the struggles of many other English batters in the BBL to establish himself as one of the competition’s most dynamic imports. In the past two seasons as a Star, he had made 419 runs at a strike rate of 151 (BBL11) and 381 runs with a strike rate of 124.1 (BBL12). That’s exactly 800 runs across both campaigns and puts Clarke among the top run scorers of the past two BBL seasons. The Renegades are an attractive SuperCoach proposition because they play five times in the opening three rounds and don’t have a round 2 bye like the Stars. Their first bye isn’t until round 7, so you can get away with carrying a few extra Renegades to start with and Clarke is a standout option. Especially if you have to rip your team apart to find the extra $41k for Quinton de Kock.

FIVE BOWLERS TO CONSIDER

Bowlers have long been the dominant scorers in KFC SuperCoach BBL.

Last summer, four of the top-five point scorers were bowlers – including Michael Neser who was listed as a BAT-BWL but scored most of his points from bowling.

That’s because they score 20 points for every wicket and can also pick up as much as 25 points in economy rate bonus.

Every dot ball is worth one point as well, so it adds up pretty quickly.

They also have the benefit of four overs to score points. If you choose a batter and they are dismissed cheaply, there’s no chance to salvage your score.

But if a bowler has one bad over, they will still have 12 or 18 balls to recover and ensure they post a strong KFC SuperCoach score.

Some of the top scorers from BBL12 are listed as BWL only in BBL13 and have a round 1 double.

Here are our five picks from players listed as BWL only.

Adam Zampa (Melbourne Renegades) $131,900

Zampa’s World Cup partying should be done by the time the Renegades start their tournament on December 8. He will be brimming with confidence after setting a new Australian record for a single World Cup by taking 23 wickets in India. Zampa has taken 45 wickets in 36 matches in the past three BBL tournaments and snared 10 more than the world’s No. 1 T20 bowler Rashid Khan last season. After having to bowl at the death and in the surge last season for the Stars, Zampa will have support from Tom Rogers, Kane Richardson, Peter Siddle, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Will Sutherland this year. That added pressure at the opposite end is likely to make him an even more dangerous prospect, as will the traditionally bowler-friendly pitch at Marvel Stadium.

Sean Abbott (Sydney Sixers) $197,600

A member of Australia’s successful World Cup squad, Abbott is the all-time leading wicket-taker in the BBL and led all comers in BBL12 with 29 wickets in 15 matches, taking a wicket every 11.3 balls he bowled. That breaks down to a guaranteed 40 KFC SuperCoach BBL points every match — before he has even bowled a dot ball or attracted the economy rate bonus. The Sixers play twice in round 1 and after averaging 63.8 points last season, Abbott is going to be very popular despite the high price tag. Trust us, he’s worth it.

Jhye Richardson (Perth Scorchers) $247,000

Perth Scorchers weapon Richardson doesn’t cost almost $250k for no reason. In seven games last season he took 15 wickets at a strike rate of 11 and average of 12.5. Those numbers are quite frankly off the charts. And the craziest thing is they don’t even compare to his BBL10 campaign when Richardson finished with a tournament high 29 wickets in 17 matches. If he has overcome recent injury troubles and is named for round 1, you’re going to need to find a way to start with him regardless of the sky-high price tag.

Tom Rogers (Melbourne Renegades) $184,600

The Renegades quick has been one of the BBL’s most successful bowlers in the past two years, completing a stunning turnaround after losing his Tasmanian contract before the 2021-22 season. Rogers has taken 43 wickets across BBL12 and BBL13, showcasing his talents with the white-ball after being regarded as more of a red-ball bowler for much of his career. There’s lots of competition for spots at the Renegades after the arrival of Zampa and Peter Siddle but it would be a shock if Rogers was the man squeezed out. His SuperCoach scoring could even benefit from those additions if he is the bowler opposition teams choose to target.

Mark Steketee (Melbourne Stars) $118,500

The big quick from Queensland seems to have been largely forgotten by SuperCoaches. He took 10 wickets last season but was expensive, conceding almost 10 runs an over. That pushed him to the outer in Brisbane and allowed the Stars to pounce. With Scott Boland likely to be away with the Test squad for much of the BBL, Steketee is in line to partner Haris Rauf bowling the surge and death overs. Both of those are very profitable in KFC SuperCoach BBL. Rewind to BBL10 and Steketee was one of the leading wicket-takers with 24 in 16 games, averaging 49 SuperCoach points. He also averaged 61 points the next season.

FIVE BATTERS TO CONSIDER

The best advice we can give you is to target BAT-BWL players, rather than BAT only, for the seven BAT positions in your team.

They have more chances to score points, as long as they’re batting and bowling.

Some batters have huge ceilings, but the risk is if they miss out their SuperCoach score will be reliant on what they do in the field.

Nathan McSweeney (59.3 points, three games) Chris Lynn (54.2), Tim David (51.1) and Cameron Bancroft (51) had the best average of players listed as BAT only in BBL12.

For those risk takers who like a BAT only option, here are five to consider for round 1:

Colin Munro (Brisbane Heat) $156,100

Brisbane Heat has the first triple in SuperCoach BBL history in round 1, which mitigates some of the risk about picking batters. They might only need to fire twice in three games to make their break even and produce a triple-figure score. New Zealander Munro is one of the most experienced T20 batters in the world, having played more than 400 T20 matches and scored more than 10,000 runs. Munro only played eight matches last season but still scored 278 runs at a strike rate of better than 150. If you pick Munro, you won’t have any worries about job security and him not playing all three round 1 games either.

Nathan McSweeney (Brisbane Heat) $128,700

McSweeney had a strong impact in the five matches he played last season, scoring 84, 28, 6, 5 and 41 for a SuperCoach average of 59.3 across three rounds. The beauty for those considering him this year is he has been one of the form batters of the season so far with South Australia. He has 162 runs at an average of 54 in the Marsh Cup and 456 runs at 50.6 in the Shield. Some have even suggested he might crack the Test squad he’s going that well. He might be the best option on this list as he can bowl as well.

Josh Brown (Brisbane Heat) $88,600

One of the great stories of BBL12. Brown has gone from a Fifth XI player in grade cricket to a Brisbane Heat contract and showed his hitting prowess with 62 off 23 balls against Sydney Sixers last season. Some coaches were concerned about whether Brown would start the campaign in Brisbane’s best XI, but Matthew Renshaw being picked in the PM’s XI should ensure that’s not an issue. The 29-year-old is rated as one of the country’s cleanest hitters and is given a licence by Brisbane to launch in the power play. As he explained recently, it’s seen as a bonus if Brown is still in after the first four overs. Brown will be in the sights of many KFC SuperCoach teams due to Brisbane’s round 1 double which is understandable when he’s less than $90k and set to open the batting. If he gets away even once in that opening round, Brown will have justified starting him in SuperCoach. He’s had a few low scores for his club side Norths in recent months but is the type of player who could defy that form and blast off in BBL13. He needs to be considered.

Oliver Davies (Sydney Thunder) $117,100

Davies has scored 129, 67 and 62 in his last two Sheffield Shield matches, standing up for a NSW team which has been struggling. Not bad for a rising star who’s supposed to be more of a white-ball hitter. Starting Davies won’t be easy as it means you will need to carry him for three rounds before Sydney Thunder has the double in round 4. But it would certainly put you ahead of other coaches who will be looking to trade him in for that round. In his first nine rounds last season, Davies scored 65 SuperCoach points or more five times (including a season high of 125 in round 2). The 23-year-old is one of the most exciting batting talents in Australian cricket and has a strike rate of 138 in his short T20 career. You’ve got to like a player in form and there’s no question Davies fits that criteria. It’s just a matter of whether investing that $117k in him from round 1 will be worth it. If you’re prepared to take the plunge, you could have a great point-of-difference pick.

D’Arcy Short (Adelaide Strikers) $67,500

A two-time player of the tournament at rookie price seems too good to be true, especially with a round 2 double. Short is likely to bat in the top three for Adelaide after a frustrating end to his time in Hobart. His recent Marsh Cup form is a concern, making three ducks in five innings since late September. But surely the price tag and early double offsets the risk of picking a player who might not be in top form? Short features in almost 40 per cent of KFC SuperCoach teams and if he recaptures his form of past BBL campaigns, those coaches who start him are going to have a big advantage. He’s by no means a must-have like some of the players listed in this article but probably only needs one decent score in his first three matches to generate money. He’s lost BWL status after not bowling last season but could pick up the odd over in BBL13, especially once Rashid Khan leaves later in the tournament. The issue is he’s unlikely to still be in your SuperCoach team by that point. Chuck him on your BAT bench, play him in the round 2 double and then reassesses how long you hold him after that.

Originally published as SuperCoach BBL must-haves: Wicketkeepers, bowlers, batters to consider for your starting team