BBL – the best batsmen and bowlers

In this post, I will run through the top batsmen and bowlers using a set of seven metrics I have previously used. Yesterday I ran through what these metrics look like for the entirety of each squad, but it’s worth seeing who the stars are.

Like I did for my equivalent WBBL post, I will split these lists between players who have played at least five T20 internationals, and those who haven’t.

It’s also worth noting that the BBL will be played concurrently with international cricket in Australia. Most of the Australian test squad are signed to one team or another, but that doesn’t mean they will be available. Cricket Australia planned to free up a large number of test players to be available for the early pre-Christmas matches, but that is now looking to be limited.

Where a player is likely to not be present I will note that, and for that reason I’ll list ten players each in the international category to include people who are likely to be present. In particular Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja have withdrawn from playing for the Sixers and Thunder respectively in the opening match to give them more recovery time.

Batting – internationals

Batting average Balls per innings
Chris Gayle (REN) 44.22 Shaun Marsh (SCO) 27.51
Shaun Marsh (SCO) 40.90 Chris Gayle (REN) 25.28
Mike Hussey (THU) 37.90 Lendl Simmons (HEA) 24.81
Brad Hodge (STR) 36.98 Mike Hussey (THU) 24.68
Kevin Pietersen (STA) 35.16 Jacques Kallis (THU) 23.24
Aaron Finch (REN) 33.01 Aaron Finch (REN) 22.40
Lendl Simmons (HEA) 31.95 Kevin Pietersen (STA) 22.25
Jacques Kallis (THU) 31.46 Brad Hodge (STR) 22.04
Shane Watson (THU) 31.35 Kumar Sangakkara (HUR) 21.58
David Hussey (STA) 30.64 Shane Watson (THU) 19.75
Strike rate Boundary runs %
Andre Russell (THU) 167.7 Chris Gayle (REN) 0.74
Glenn Maxwell (STA) 155.77 Michael Lumb (SIX) 0.7
Chris Gayle (REN) 149.26 Andre Russell (THU) 0.7
Luke Wright (STA) 148.76 Glenn Maxwell (STA) 0.67
Shane Watson (THU) 140.51 Shane Watson (THU) 0.67
Michael Lumb (SIX) 138.46 Luke Wright (STA) 0.65
Darren Sammy (HUR) 136.87 Darren Sammy (HUR) 0.62
Kevin Pietersen (STA) 134.91 Aaron Finch (REN) 0.62
George Bailey (HUR) 134.41 Lendl Simmons (HEA) 0.61
David Hussey (STA) 132.89 Mahela Jayawardene (STR) 0.6

There are surprisingly few players on this list who could be lost to international duty. Shaun Marsh, who has had so many problems holding on to his spot in the test team, is one of only two players with a T20 batting average above 40, and has the highest proportion of balls faced per innings played. In 2015 he only played three crucial matches for the Perth Scorchers, including their successful semi-final and final. The decision as to whether Shaun Marsh plays in the next two tests could be critical to the performance of the Scorchers.

Apart from Marsh, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey and Shane Watson could be possible selections for the ODIs. Despite some criticism of Watson’s role in the Australian team, he’s in the top ten on all four metrics.

There are a number of former Australian players (Mike and David Hussey, Brad Hodge) along with other well-known figures like Chris Gayle, Jacques Kallis and Kevin Pietersen. Then there are other international players less well-known such as Michael Lumb, Luke Wright and a number of other West Indians.

The Stars and Thunder are most strongly represented on this list, while the Scorchers are only represented by Shaun Marsh.

Batting – non-internationals

Batting average Balls per innings
Michael Klinger (Scorchers) 37.28 Michael Klinger (Scorchers) 25.23
Andrew McDonald (Thunder) 32.55 Michael Carberry (Scorchers) 22.60
Michael Carberry (Scorchers) 31.97 Michael Hill (Hurricanes) 21.90
Tom Beaton (Renegades) 31.17 Usman Khawaja (Thunder) 21.77
Jonathan Wells (Hurricanes) 30.00 Marcus Harris (Scorchers) 18.86
Strike rate Boundary runs %
John Hastings (Stars) 173.12 Craig Simmons (Strikers) 0.69
Ben Cutting (Heat) 164.48 Jimmy Peirson (Heat) 0.68
Travis Head (Strikers) 148.45 Jono Dean (Strikers) 0.68
Craig Simmons (Strikers) 144.92 Ben Cutting (Heat) 0.66
Jimmy Peirson (Heat) 144.44 David Willey (Scorchers) 0.65

There are a lot of Strikers and Scorchers on this list. Michael Klinger particularly stands out.

The other thing to note is that I’ve defined ‘international’ as someone who has played at least five internationals in the top seven batting positions. Usman Khawaja, while he has played six tests, have never played a T20I, and Englishmen Michael Carberry and David Willey both have more experience in longer forms of the game, with five T20Is between them.

Bowling – internationals

Bowling average Economy Wickets/overs
James Muirhead (SCO) 18.38 Samuel Badree (HEA) 5.26 James Muirhead (SCO) 0.4103
Samuel Badree (HEA) 18.42 Johan Botha (SIX) 6.35 Cameron Boyce (HUR) 0.4008
Cameron Boyce (HUR) 19.34 Tom Cooper (REN) 6.56 Steve Smith (SIX) 0.3898
Steve Smith (SIX) 19.45 Brad Hogg (SCO) 6.71 Shaun Tait (HUR) 0.3708
Shaun Tait (HUR) 21.19 Stephen O’Keefe (SIX) 7.05 James Faulkner (STA) 0.3457
Timm Van Der Gugten (HUR) 21.25 Timm Van Der Gugten (HUR) 7.14 Dwayne Bravo (REN) 0.3423
Tom Cooper (REN) 21.33 Ben Hilfenhaus (STA) 7.42 Ben Hilfenhaus (STA) 0.3404
Ben Hilfenhaus (STA) 21.8 David Hussey (STA) 7.47 Nathan Coulter-Nile (SCO) 0.3386
James Faulkner (STA) 22.22 Xavier Doherty (REN) 7.53 Timm Van Der Gugten (HUR) 0.3359
Brad Hogg (SCO) 22.8 Shane Watson (THU) 7.54 Clint McKay (THU) 0.3217


There’s a bunch of Australians on this list who have played the minimum number of T20Is, such as James Muirhead, Cameron Boyce and Ben Hilfenhaus.

It’s particularly worth looking at James Muirhead, Cameron Boyce, James Toit and West Indian visitor Samuel Badree.

It might confusing to see Steve Smith on the list. Smith regularly bowled earlier in his career – he took 4/15 for NSW against Queensland in 2008. He bowled regularly for NSW and the Sixers as well as for Australia from 2008 to 2012, but since 2012 has only bowled one over, in a T20I in October 2014. Might be an argument for limiting data to recent years.

Bowling – non-internationals

Bowling average Economy Wickets/overs
Jake Reed (Hurricanes) 14.25 Michael Beer (Stars) 6.24 Jake Reed (Hurricanes) 0.5
Ashton Turner (Scorchers) 14.75 Andrew Tye (Scorchers) 6.93 Ashton Turner (Scorchers) 0.4706
David Willey (Scorchers) 19.2 Ashton Turner (Scorchers) 6.94 David Willey (Scorchers) 0.3938
Jason Behrendorff (Scorchers) 19.44 Gurinder Sandhu (Thunder) 7.06 Joel Paris (Scorchers) 0.3913
Nathan Lyon (Sixers) 20.74 Jon Holland (Strikers) 7.09 Jason Behrendorff (Scorchers) 0.3772

You might be surprised to notice that Nathan Lyon – now regularly playing in Australia’s test team – has never played a T20I.

Names worth watching here are Jake Reed and Ashton Turner, and it’s worth noting that David Willey has appeared on both the bowling and batting tables.


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