How the mighty have fallen! Perth Scorchers by far the most successful franchise in the history of the BBL had an absolutely shocking season last time around finishing rock bottom of the league.
There are several reasons behind their slump in form. For one multiple players within their set-up had come to a natural end in their careers. Michael Klinger for example for so long a stalwart at the top of the innings found last season to be one too many and has called time on his career. That, however, makes Shaun Marsh’s decision to travel to the east coast and play for the Renegades even more of a blow. Add to that the fact that Hilton Cartwright and Nathan Coulter-Nile have departed for The Stars and you can probably assume that this will be a year of rebuilding for the Perth based team. At the same time, the Scorchers decision to cut 10 players from their 2018/19 squad will certainly help them with selection and stop the chopping and changing that saw them use more players in last year’s tournament than any other franchise.
The Scorchers used more players in last year's BBL than any other franchise and generally seemed unable to settle on a core of players to build around
Their strength in previous years was the barrage of fast bowlers at their disposal who were particularly effective at the old WACCA ground. The move across the river and onto a wicket without the pace and bounce of the old has no doubt cost them as the below stats show. However, regardless of the conditions, the Scorchers will be forced to adapt their bowling plans this year as much through injury as anything. International stars Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye both look likely to miss the entire season meaning that the burden of responsibility in regards leading the attack falls on Jhye Richardson. He will be joined by T20 specialist Chris Jordan who will certainly offer the team something different with his array of slower balls and accurate yorkers that have taken him into the top 10 in the world T20 rankings.
The Scorchers finished top of the league in both the previous 2 seasons and did so off the back of impressive home form at the old WACA. That form slipped last season as they were beaten 4 times at their new stadium
Spin also looks likely to play a greater role for a side who in previous years have relied on blasting teams away. Fawad Ahmed could be a shrood bit of business from Sydney Thunder and the Scorchers will hope he can form an effective partnership with fellow countryman Ashton Agar in the middle overs. In general, the balance that players like Agar, Chris Jordan and Mitchell Marsh will provide with their all-rounder abilities should give the scorchers more options with the ball while lengthening what last year looked like quite a brittle batting line-up.
Liam Livingstone has played a handful of games for England in white-ball cricket but knows that with competition fierce he must press his claim for a recall through sheer weight of runs
In regards that batting line-up, Cameron Bancroft who of course began the start of last year finishing his suspension for his part in sandpapergate looks likely to be available for the duration of the tournament as will new overseas signing Liam Livingstone. Both players alongside the likes of Marsh, Ashton Turner who will captain the side and Kurtis Patterson who made his Test debut for the Aussies earlier this year and has joined from the Thunder are on the fringes of their respective national teams and will hope to use this tournament to showcase their obvious talents. Ultimately, the fact that the Scorchers will have very few if any players being called-up for international duty means that this season should at least be more settled than the last in terms of selection and that can only be a positive thing for a side looking to redefine itself.
All infographics are my own with raw data taken from cricinfo