BBL|04 PREVIEW: Melbourne Renegades looking for the right Big Bash ballance

After a disappointing sixth-place finish last season, the Melbourne Renegades have gone big in an effort to improve their fortunes this year.Bringing in Matthew Wade, Jesse Ryder, Andre Russell and the re-signing of Dwayne Bravo, have made the Melbourne side a big contender for the finals. Big things were expected of the Renegades last season after a strong showing in season two.

Aaron Finch led domination of the league for the Renegades, finishing top with a four-point gap. A slip up in the semi finals saw the Renegades bow out to the Brisbane Heat. It was a vast improvement on their seventh placed finish in season one and it left plenty of expectation for season three. A disappointing disjointed performance from the Renegades left plenty to be desired. They failed to find any consistent form and with too much reliance on certain individuals, the Renegades slumped to a sixth place finish.

The Renegades have not retained Muttiah Muralitharan and Jos Buttler as they looked to strengthen their batting in the middle order and add a bit more grunt to their bowling attack. Too much was left to Finch at the top of the order for the Renegades last season, but the arrivals of Ryder, Russell and Wade will add some much needed firepower right through the batting lineup. The Renegades will strongly be pushing for a finals berth this season and some good signings in the transfer period could potentially see them get back to their season two self.

Melbourne Renegades Squad

Aaron Finch (capt), Jesse Ryder, Matthew Wade, Callum Ferguson, Dwayne Bravo, Nick Winter, Matthew Short, Nathan Rimmington, Aaron O’Brien, Tom Cooper, Jayde Herrick, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Fawad Ahmed, Alex Doolan, Peter Nevill, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Tom beaton, Ben Ashkenazi, Lega Siaka

James Pattinson

Player to watch - James Pattinson

The Australian international is no stranger to performing on a big stage. He has already burst on to the cricketing scene in a big way and made a name for himself. However, in a squad filled with plenty of experience and players edging just over 30, Pattinson is the first name that pops up when thinking of future leaders at the Renegades. With a world cup just around the corner, Pattinson will be pushing desperately for a place in the squad. Injury has forced Pattinson to miss out on some crucial selections for the national side most recently missing the tour of Zimbabwe, and the ODI and T20 series against a visiting South Africa.

Pattinson has returned to cricket with a new bowling action in an effort to reduce the number of injuries he has struggled with, and has been part of the Australian training squad in their current series with India. Whilst Pattinson will take no part in the test series, it is quite clear he is extremely highly thought of by national selectors. A good Big Bash for Pattinson, and he will be a shoe in for World Cup selection.

Aaron Finch

Key Player - Aaron Finch

Winner of the ICC individual T20 performance of the year after smashing 156 off 63 balls against England in August 2013, Finch is without doubt one of the most damaging batsman in world cricket. Finch has been a vital cog for the Renegades since day one. Cementing his place at the top of the order from the very beginning, Finch almost single handedly took the Renegades to the title in season two. With a strike rate of 134 in domestic T20 and 152 in T20 internationals, Finch is every T20 teams dream opening batsman. At just 28 years of age, Finch still has a fair way to go in his career, and if he can get going at the top of the order, we could very well see his average jump over the 40 mark by the end of the tournament.

Matthew Wade joins the Renegades on a four-year deal

What they are saying

“I wanted to sign a longer term deal as this is a serious move for me, to move from the MCG and the Stars. I had to be serious - I didn’t want to be one of those players moving between clubs all the time. This long-term deal is a sign of my commitment to the Renegades.” – Matthew Wade

“I’m really looking forward to getting to Australia and playing a key role for the Melbourne Renegades this season. The Renegades have a talented squad this year with a good mix of big hitters and great bowlers so I want to contribute to the team in both areas this season.” – Andre Russell

Badger Predicts

Much was expected of the Renegades last season but they failed to deliver.

With too much reliance on certain individuals, the Renegades failed to perform as a team and it cost them. It was a very disjointed start to the season from the Renegades failing to find any form of momentum, and when players like Finch failed to perform, so did the rest of the team. With some good additions to the side, the Renegades look a far more balanced outfit. I expect them to push strongly for a finals berth this season.

Whether they can win the tournament will depend a lot on whether they lose players to international call-ups. Players like Finch and Wade are most likely to be called up by Australia for the ODI tri-series with India and England. If the Renegades can find the right balance in their squad, then they will be in with a chance of the title.

More information

Melbourne Renegades website

Big Bash League website

Follow Melbourne Renegades on Twitter

 

Ahmed Essof

Ahmed has been a cricket fan for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Zimbabwe in the 90s he has very fond memories of cricket and was immediately transfixed by the game from the very first moment.

At the age of 15, Ahmed moved to Australia with his family. He quickly took a liking to his new home state, Queensland, and subsequently became a fan of Brisbane Heat. Despite his obvious love for his African roots and Zimbabwe and South Africa, Ahmed has developed a strong knowledge of the game in Australia and the various competitions.

Always a fan of the outrageous and 'freakish' cricket, Ahmed rates Jonty Rhodes, AB DeVilliers as among his most exciting cricketers to watch.

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