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In the history of Big Bash League (BBL), no other player signing has generated the level of excitement as South African dasher AB De Villiers.

Brisbane Heat, a Big Bash League (BBL) franchise, managed to sign up AB de Villiers, one of the world’s leading T20 batsmen, for the forthcoming BBL 2019. His first stint with the Heat will also be the South African batsman’s first appearance in BBL, nine years since it started.

While De Villiers will be an obvious addition to SuperCoach BBL teams when he makes his debut for the Heat, there are several other signings and players who have switched franchises worth consideration.

1. Brisbane Heat

Zahir Khan (Afghanistan)
Zahir Khan (Afghanistan)
  • AB De Villiers
  • Zahir Khan (Afghanistan)
  • Tom Banton (England)

Besides his appearance in the last six games for Brisbane Heat in the BBL regular season, he would also be available for finals.

Signing the Proteas batsman, one of the cleanest strikers of the cricket ball, was a shot-in-the-arm for Australian T20, as it will light up the BBL. Apart from de Villiers, there are other additions to SuperCoach BBL teams.

Nobody can afford to leave out AB De Villiers in the SuperCoach BBL team when he debuts in the middle of the tournament. His strike rate for Middlesex in the Vitality Blast was 182 at an average of 69.8.

Zahir Khan, also playing for Brisbane Heat, is a left-arm wrist-spinner, with experience of playing T20s in England and West Indies. In the 2019 Caribbean Premier League, he bagged eight wickets and had an economy rate of 7.66. He will share spinning work with Mujeeb Ur Rahman, as only two internationals are allowed to play at one time.

Before the arrival of de Villiers arrives in Brisbane, the Heat will make use of the services of Tom Banton, England’s rising star. He was the second-highest run-getter in 2019 Vitality Blast. He scored 549 runs by striking them at the rate of 161.5.

2. Adelaide Strikers

Phil Salt (England)
Phil Salt (England)
  • Phil Salt (England)
  • Cameron White (Melbourne Renegades)

Taking the place of South African Colin Ingram will be Phil Salt, an English batsman, for Adelaide Strikers. The youngster was one of the top scorers in the 2019 Vitality Blast of England and Wales. He scored 406 runs in the tournament for Sussex averaging 36.9 and striking at the rate of 161. His best performance was a stylish 72 of 40 balls when he opened against Worchestershire. Strikers expect something similar in the BBL as well.

Something similar too is hoped from the experienced Cameron White who shifted from Melbourne Renegades.

3. Hobart Hurricanes

Qais Ahmad (Afghanistan)
Qais Ahmad (Afghanistan)
  • Qais Ahmad (Afghanistan)

The Afghani leg-spinner Qais Ahmad has been a godsend for Hobart Hurricanes, as he took seven wickets in three games in the 2018-19 season. The latest addition to SuperCoach teams, he averages 82 points per game.

4. Perth Scorchers

Fawad Ahmed (Sydney Thunder)
Fawad Ahmed (Sydney Thunder)
  • Fawad Ahmed (Sydney Thunder)
  • Kurtis Patterson (Sydney Thunder)

For Sydney Thunders, Fawad Ahmed, an experienced spinner, is an exciting prospect. He was one of the leading wicket-takers in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League, where he scalped 10 wickets with an economy rate of 6.4 runs an over.

Patterson, however, failed to make an impression during his stint at the Thunder and didn’t play any matches in BBL08, though he was a part of the team.

5. MELBOURNE RENEGADES

Shaun Marsh (Perth Scorchers)
Shaun Marsh (Perth Scorchers)
  • Shaun Marsh (Perth Scorchers)
  • Jake Fraser-McGurk (upgraded)

Shaun Marsh scored 1435 runs at an average of 49.5. Given that the Marvel Stadium pitch is not known to be batsmen-friendly, Marsh, however, scored 76 not out at the venue in 2015-16. With Aaron Finch away, the onus will be on him to score for the Melbourne franchise.

Meanwhile, Jake Fraser-McGurk, a promising youngster from Victoria, has been upgraded.

6. Melbourne Stars

Nathan Coulter-Nile (Perth Scorchers)
Nathan Coulter-Nile (Perth Scorchers)
  • Dale Steyn (unattached)
  • Hilton Cartwright (Perth Scorchers)
  • Clint Hinchcliffe (Perth Scorchers)
  • Nathan Coulter-Nile (Perth Scorchers)

Along with de Villiers, Steyn, signed by Melbourne Stars, is one of the major debutants of BBL 2019. With 61 wickets in 44 T20 internationals for South Africa, he has an economy rate of 6.8 with an average of 17.5.

Among others likely to make it to the SuperCoach BBL teams, is a Perth player bought by Melbourne Stars for 2019-20. He is the World Cup squad member Coulter-Nile who may not be unavailable for many games if the Australian selection squad chooses him to represent in the ODIs or T20s. A dependable SuperCoach BBL player last year, he scored four centuries in his last seven matches with an average of 60.9.

Hinchcliffe, who featured in three games for the Scorchers last season, is considered to deliver this season. Cartwright’s performance will depend on where he will figure in the Stars batting line-up. In 2018-19, as he played mostly at No. 5 for Perth, he could only average  22.7 points.

7. SYDNEY SIXERS

Jackson Bird (Melbourne Stars)
Jackson Bird (Melbourne Stars)
  • Jackson Bird (Melbourne Stars)

Bird, known for his skills with the new-ball, was used in that role mainly when playing for Melbourne Stars. His consistency with the bat is in question, and he is not known to take wickets.

8. Sydney Thunders

  • Chris Morris (South Africa)
  • Alex Hales (England)
  • Alex Ross (Brisbane Heat)
  • Chris Tremain (Melbourne Renegades)
  • Brendan Doggett (Brisbane Heat)

Chris Morris, an experienced South African Twenty20 all-rounder, played 61 matches in the Indian Premier League. He bagged 12 wickets from 11 matches for Hampshire in the Vitality Blast. He didn’t bat much in England, scoring only 86 runs at an average of 14.3. He has to deliver much more with the bat and ball to make it to the SuperCoach team.

Hales has featured for Melbourne Renegades, Hobart and Adelaide earlier, He averaged 54.5 in two games for the Renegades, with the Strikers and the Hurricanes, it was 21.9 and 14.2, respectively. Ross, on the other hand, has to bat up the order to be considered for the SuperCoach team. Tremain is switching over to Sydney, having only played five games in the last season for Melbourne Renegades. While he averaged 47.8 points, Doggett’s average was 46.1 points in eight matches for Brisbane Heat in BBL08. The pacer who fares well from the beginning must be considered among the two.

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