Ten overseas stars your BBL club could sign

04 July 2018

We've taken a look at the best unsigned international T20 players who could feature in this summer's Big Bash League

As we wait for the impending release of the KFC BBL schedule for its eighth season, the clubs have been busy surveying the globe for international superstars to fill their rosters.

Each of the eight franchises are permitted two overseas players on their 18-man roster and can name up to two replacement players should national duty or injury arise. 

So far, only three clubs have announced international signings; reigning champions Adelaide Strikers have secured the services of Afghanistan spin wizard Rashid Khan and South African Colin Ingram, Hobart Hurricanes will unleash pace duo Jofra Archer and Tymal Mills, while Brisbane Heat will welcome back skipper Brendon McCullum next summer.

That leaves five clubs still yet to sign an international recruit, with Brisbane in the market for a second overseas player to boot. 

The international schedules of South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand and Bangladesh over the southern summer means their players will most likely be unavailable for the extended 59-match BBL season.

But England are free for December and early January before heading to the Caribbean, and there are plenty of T20 specialists unsigned for next summer.

Below are the top 10 international still up for grabs for BBL|08.

10. Joe Root (England)

BBL experience: None

Root rises to the occasion with unbeaten 91

England's Test captain is the lynchpin of his nation's limited-overs team, a cool head who can rotate the strike, bat deep into an innings and hit to any part of the field. While the right-hander would be a bold selection given the power-packed options in the market, his leadership, experience and class would be welcome at any club. 

9. Alex Hales (England)

BBL experience: 15 matches (eight for Adelaide, five for Hobart, two for Melbourne Renegades)

WATCH: Every six from England's world record

Hales, a former No.1 T20 batsman, has had a taste of BBL at three clubs and made an almighty introduction in 2013 when he hopped off a plane and smashed 89 from 52 balls for the Renegades at the SCG. While that remains his only half-century in the BBL, any doubts about his form and ability were erased last month when he hammered 147 against Australia at Trent Bridge in the world-record men's ODI total of 6-481. 

8. Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan)

BBL experience: None

Shahzad stars as Afghans dance to victory

The Afghan wicketkeeper-batsman owns a T20 international century, a strike-rate of 135 and some seriously fast gloves. As a pure entertainer there are few better in world cricket, with his mixture of adventurous stroke play and daring attitude a must-watch blend. Afghanistan have no international cricket scheduled during the BBL period, meaning Shahzad would be available for the whole tournament.

7. Morne Morkel (South Africa)

BBL experience: None

Saluting Proteas paceman Morne Morkel

South Africa's pain is potentially a BBL club's gain after the towering quick retired from international cricket at the end of the Proteas' historic Test series win over Australia in April. The 33-year-old did not stay out of the action for long, quickly inking a deal with English county side Surrey. With an Australian wife and the flexibility that comes with no national commitments, Morkel would seem a perfect fit for a BBL club this summer.

6. Evin Lewis (West Indies)

BBL experience: None

King Lewis smashes records with epic ton

A damaging top-order batsman who is ranked the fifth-best in T20 cricket, Lewis is an absolute knockout. His stocks have risen exponentially ever since he cracked an even 100 from 49 balls in a T20I against India in 2016 in Florida of all places, then backed it up with 125 not out from 62 balls against Virat Kohli's side 11 in Kingston 11 months later. Not a Test batsman, Lewis's availability looks good for the BBL and he would be a huge signing. 

5. Jos Buttler (England)

BBL experience: 11 matches (five for Melbourne Renegades, six for Sydney Thunder)

Fifth ODI wrap: Buttler blasts brave Aussies away

Perhaps the best white-ball player in the world at the moment, Buttler would be a massive addition to any BBL roster. He's in career-best form for England and in this year's IPL was breathtaking at times for Rajasthan Royals. He played two brilliant hands for the Thunder last season and would be an asset to any club. Now he's an all-format player his availability is not as free as it was last summer. But seriously, get this guy if you can.

4. Sunil Narine (West Indies)

BBL experience: 13 matches (eight for Melbourne Renegades, five for Sydney Sixers)

T20 Superstars: Sunil Narine

Rated as the second-best T20 player of all time by this very website, Narine has put problems with his action behind him to return to doing what he does best – bamboozle batsmen. The mystery spinner has an incredibly low economy rate and when he last played in the BBL, for the Renegades in 2016-17, he captured 15 wickets in eight games. Add his explosive talents with the bat that has seen him make a solid case for allrounder status, and Narine is a potent T20 package. 

3. Andrew Russell (West Indies)

BBL experience: 19 matches (15 with Sydney Thunder, four with Melbourne Renegades)

Dre Russ goes ballistic with 11 sixes

'Dre-Russ' is considered by many to be the complete T20 player. He can clear the fence at will with the bat, bowl at express speeds with the ball and in the field he's like lightning. He was an integral part in the Thunder's maiden BBL title win in BBL|05 and after a year out of the game due to a drug-related ban, the 30-year-old is back to wreaking havoc on the playing field. Whether he'll end up back at the Thunder is yet to be seen, but you'd imagine a number of clubs would be chasing his signature. 

2. Ben Stokes (England)

BBL experience: Four matches (Melbourne Renegades)

Stokes flays South Africa for brilliant century

Think of a more consistent Andre Russell and you've got Ben Stokes. The controversial Englishman is a former IPL MVP and on his day can win a match with either bat or ball. He hasn't played in the BBL since his stint with the Renegades in 2014-15 but with England's December cricket-free, he would be an ideal target for any club to get their season off to a flying start. 

1. AB de Villiers (South Africa)

BBL experience: None

Brilliant de Villiers notches ton, swings contest

It's AB de Villiers. SIGN HIM! After he shocked the world in May with an immediate retirement from international cricket, de Villiers became an instant target for every T20 club in the world. Standing in the way of de Villiers signing a BBL deal could be his asking price (he's top-dollar talent) and his motivation (he walked away from the Proteas because he was exhausted). Let's hope the stars align and we see one of the game's greatest T20 batsmen in Australia next summer. 

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Filed Under

Jos Buttler

AB de Villiers

Alex Hales

Morne Morkel

Sunil Narine

Joe Root

Andre Russell

Mohammad Shahzad

Ben Stokes