Bowling trio provide the key to Strikers' title hopes

MEN'S BIG BASH TEAM GUIDE - ADELAIDE STRIKERS: There is more than enough quality within Jason Gillespie's squad to make the 2020-21 campaign a successful one

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Big Bash 2020-21: Team-by-team guides

Coach: Jason Gillespie

Captain: Travis Head

Last season: Knockout

How did they do last year?

A campaign which promised much saw Strikers fail to reach a final which for so long they looked destined for. They lost just five of their 14 group matches and beat eventual runners-up Melbourne Stars on both occasions to qualify in third place. Come the knock-out phase they were paired with Sydney Thunder, but their problems at the top of the order came back to haunt them. Jason Gillespie's side had possibly the best-balanced bowling attack around with quicks Wes Agar and Peter Siddle backed up by Rashid Khan, who remains the standard at this level.

Who are the key players?

Rashid Khan: The most successful overseas bowler in BBL history is back for a fourth campaign with Strikers aiming to repeat the title win from his maiden season. It is a testament to Rashid's talent and ability to adapt that he is found success in Australia, where he could easily have been overwhelmed. His numbers are seen to be believed and he'll be confident of improving on his third place in the Men's T20 Player Index.

Peter Siddle: Now into his 37th year, if last season's outstanding displays were anything to go by the former Australia seamer still has plenty to offer. His 19 wickets at 18.26 last term represented his best return in the competition's history and with Michael Neser likely to miss a portion of the matches he'll again be looked at to provide the goods. Bowled with real skill, particularly at the death and he'll be key to the Strikers' title tilt.

Jonathan Wells: Found himself fourth in the run-scorers list despite batting in the middle order, as he made a habit out of turning substandard Strikers starts into decent totals. His four fifties across his 478 runs were crucial to taking his side deep in the tournament. Indeed, had he managed to hang around beyond his 34 from 27 balls in the knockout they very well might have reached the final.

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What are their strengths?

Rashid, Siddle and Agar took 45 wickets between them last term and will are a constant threat throughout the innings. If he gets going, Phil Salt is a destructive presence at the top of the batting order.

Where might they have weaknesses?

A lack of depth. It remains to be seen how much cricket Travis Head and Alex Carey play in the competition and without them the batting line-up is fragile. Rashid might be the best legspinner around but with runs behind him, he becomes a different threat altogether. It remains to be seen how much of the competition he misses to play for Afghanistan.

Chances of reaching playoffs?

It remains to be seen how often Gillespie can field his best XI. But a tilt at silverware is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Strongest XI: Phil Salt, Jake Weatherald, Travis Head, Alex Carey, Jon Wells, Rashid Khan, Matt Short, Michael Neser, Peter Siddle, Wes Agar

Fixtures: December 13 – Hobart Hurricanes (Blundstone Arena); December 15 – Hobart Hurricanes ((University of Tasmania Stadium); December 20 – Sydney Sixers (Blundstone Arena); December 23 – Brisbane Heat (Gabba); December 28 – Perth Scorchers (Adelaide Oval); December 31 – Perth Scorchers (Adelaide Oval); January 3 - Sydney Sixers (Metricon Stadium); January 5 – Melbourne Renegades (Adelaide Oval); January 8 – Melbourne Renegades (Adelaide Oval); January 11 – Adelaide Strikers (Adelaide Oval); January 15 – Melbourne Stars (MCG); January 21 – Brisbane Heat (MCG); January 24 – Sydney Thunder (Sydney Showground); January 25 – Sydney Thunder (Sydney Showground)

Big Bash fixtures

Big Bash squads

TEAM-BY-TEAM PREVIEWS

Adelaide Strikers

Brisbane Heat

Hobart Hurricanes

Melbourne Renegades

Melbourne Stars

Perth Scorchers

Sydney Sixers

Sydney Thunder

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