With BBL10 set to kick off in one week, there are many players who are still young in their careers and could be set for a breakthrough season in the BBL.
So here are some players to keep a close eye on this BBL season.
Noor Ahmad: Melbourne Renegades (Afghanistan) Another one of Afghanistan’s talented spinners, 15-year-old Noor Ahmad can give the white ball a white hot rip. Despite being in his early teens he still does have a bit of domestic and under-age international experience as well.
In the under-19 World Cup at the start of the year in South Africa he took seven wickets in four matches with an average of 20.6, striking every 32.3 balls and only conceding 3.8 runs per over. He’s also played 15 T20 matches, taking 19 wickets at an average of 21.4, striking every three overs and conceding 7.1 runs an over.
He may only be at the start of his career and still have his weaknesses, but he is still a very exciting prospect. And if he can do what he did in the under-19 World Cup, then the Renegades might just have earthed yet another Afghanistani star.
Lloyd Pope: Sydney Sixers (South Australia) Part of a talented under-21 group that nearly won the 2018 under-19 World Cup, Pope has the potential to be as good as Shane Warne and Sixers teammate Nathan Lyon. With a bit of variation and some decent spin behind him, he’ll be handy again as a replacement or back-up to the GOAT.
And he has a bit of experience behind him too, having already played 14 matches. In those 14 games Pope has taken 12 wickets at an average of 29.4, striking every 23 balls and conceding 7.7 runs per over. He also has a best of 3-23 against crosstown rivals the Thunder in December last year.
He’s been in alright form in the Sheffield Shield too, taking eight wickets at an average of 86.3, striking every 65.1 balls and conceding roughly four runs per over, including a best of 5-164 on the opening day of the season. If he bowls better than those first-class matches figures, then look out Australia, we might have another spinning GOAT on our hands.
Matthew Gilkes: Sydney Thunder (New South Wales) A 21-year-old from the small town of Ulladulla, Gilkes is a very bright prospect as a wicketkeeper-batsman for both the Thunder and potentially for Australia. With an alright technique and solid timing, he could be set to don the gloves for the Thunder for a bit of the season.
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He already has played and kept in 11 games for the Thunder. In those 11 games he’s batted at the top of the order and has batted as low as six, scoring 144 runs at an average of 18, and had a 50 on debut at Optus Stadium against the Scorchers. He’s also taken five catches since his debut and has a strike rate of 104.3.
Gilkes also has some List A and first-class experience too, playing ten games for New South Wales and getting one first-class 50 and one List A 50. If he can consistently perform and average 30 or 35 runs at the top or at the end of an innings for the Thunder this season, then we could have yet another decent keeper on our hands.