English bowler Harry Gurney will return to the Melbourne Renegades this season after playing a crucial role in their title-winning run last summer.
Gurney was a revelation in the second half of BBL|08, taking ten wickets at an economy rate of just 7.17 despite bowling plenty of overs at the death.
Renegades and Notts teammate Dan Christian has described Gurney “the best death bowler I've played with anywhere around the world" and the 32-year-old will be back in red again this summer.
Capped 14 times by England, Gurney was labelled a "left-arm Mr Bean" by former Australia batsman Mark Waugh during last season’s final, a reference to his rangy build and unassuming bowling action that confounded some of the best batsmen in the tournament last summer.
"Playing in and winning the Big Bash League in 2018/19 was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career and a very special time for my young family,” Gurney said.
“We are thrilled to have the chance to return to Melbourne and try to help the Renegades achieve back-to-back titles."
Gurney is just the sixth overseas player signed on for BBL|09, alongside English trio Jos Buttler (Sydney Thunder), Jofra Archer (Hobart Hurricanes) and Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers) and Afghan duo Rashid Khan (Adelaide Strikers) and Mohammad Nabi (Renegades).
England’s national players, particularly all-format stars like Buttler and (potentially) Archer may not be available for large chunks of the tournament due to England’s tour of South Africa.
A rule change earlier this year means clubs can now sign up to six international players, an increase from four last summer, although only two can play in any one match.
The 2019-20 BBL regular season fixture, announced earlier today, is almost two weeks shorter than last summer and officials hope the shorter season will help clubs recruit big-name overseas talent.
While the compressed schedule has been introduced primarily for fans, CA’s Head of the BBL Alistair Dobson says making the tournament a more attractive option for international players is a bonus.
"We hope it makes it easier or gives our clubs better options to go to market in a recruiting sense and make it more accessible for big-name players," he said.
"That’s the next step; now that we’ve got the fixture in place, we’ll work really closely with the clubs to optimise that opportunity."