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STRIKERS LOOK TO END BARREN RUN

Gillespie's Strikers yet to make a final

One of two teams left in the Big Bash League to have never reached a final, Adelaide have added some big names to an otherwise youthful side, in order to turn their fortunes around.

Have the Strikers tasted success before?

In short, no. The first three seasons of the BBL saw the Strikers finish 6th, 5th, and 7th.

There’s some light at the end of the tunnel though, fans at the Adelaide Oval did enjoy two semi-final appearances in a row from 2014-16. Despite slipping back to 6th in the table last time around, the South Aussie outfit will be hoping to build on those improvements.

Who are the men in charge?

Coach - Jason Gillespie: The former Aussie fast bowler’s coaching career has been hugely successful since he began in 2010. His five-year tenure as Yorkshire first team coach saw them promoted back to Division One of the County Championship, where they won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.

This will be Gillespie’s third season in charge of the Strikers.

Travis Head will lead the Strikers

Skipper: Travis Head is replacing veteran Brad Hodge as Strikers captain. At just 23, Head adds this to an already impressive CV having played 39 one-day and T20 matches for Australia since his debut in January last year.

The left-hander has already captained South Australia 40 times since being named their youngest ever first-class skipper at the age of 21.

"It’s a privilege to be named captain. We’ve got such an exciting squad this season and a good mix of youth and experience," Head said.

Adelaide lost Ben Dunk - BBL06’s leading run-scorer, hitting 364 at 54 - to Melbourne Stars, so the Strikers will need runs from their skipper if they are to have an upturn in fortunes.

Siddle spent BBL04 & 05 as a Melbourne Renegade

Who are the most notable additions?

Peter Siddle is top of the list; with 451 first class wickets to his name the Strikers will be hoping ‘Sid Vicious’ can help their bowling attack compete with the likes of Mitchell Johnson’s Perth Scorchers.

Afghan leg spinner Rashid Khan is the other big name with the ball. The 19 year old took the sixth most wickets in the IPL this year for Sunrisers Hyderabad (17 from 14 matches).

The second overseas player to join Adelaide for the BBL07 season is South African big hitter Colin Ingram. The left-handed opener has enjoyed two incredibly successful seasons in the NatWest T20 Blast for Glamorgan.

Khan has taken 42 wickets at 14.35 in T20Is for Afghanistan

The Adelaide Oval

In three out of six BBL seasons, despite having little to cheer about, the strikers have boasted the highest average attendance in the competition.

The 50,000 capacity Adelaide Oval is one of the most recognizable grounds in world cricket, it’s picturesque backdrop featuring the spire of St. Peter’s Cathedral gives it an old fashioned, almost English feel.

Steeped in history, this ground would be a fitting home for the best team in Australia, a dream which the Strikers will hope to make reality.

The Adelaide Oval has seen impressive Big Bash attendances

What chance do they have?

Despite their big name additions, the bookies aren’t being kind about Adelaide’s chances. The Strikers are currently 4/1 to finish bottom of the table, behind only the Sydney Thunder and the Hobart Hurricanes.

It’ll be a relative upset if they manage to make another semi-final, let alone overthrow the mighty Scorchers.

Skipper Travis Head remains confident though.

“We’ve got amazing fans, an incredible home ground at Adelaide Oval and I know the guys are really hungry to have success.

"There’s good continuity in the team with a few players who have stuck with us for several years plus the big recruits.”

“We can’t wait to get started.”

Squad

Travis Head*, Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Michael Cormack, Jono Dean, Daniel Drew, David Grant, Colin Ingram, Rashid Khan, Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Michael Neser, Liam O’Connor, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Jake Weatherald, Jonathan Wells, Nick Winter.

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