This winter’s KFC Big Bash is set to kick off in Australia on December 20 and two of Nottinghamshire’s big-hitters will be heading down under to mix it with some of the world’s most exciting players.
Opening batsmen Alex Hales and Michael Lumb will be representing the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Sixers respectively, in this third edition of the Aussie domestic T20 competition.
It will be a rare occurrence when the pair, who open the batting together for both Nottinghamshire and England in Twenty20 maches, line up for opposing teams on January 5 at the Adelaide Oval.
Hales turned out for the Melbourne Renegades in last year’s competition and his signing is a prized scalp for Strikers coach Darren Berry.
He’ll be playing under the captaincy of experienced South African spinner Johan Botha and alongside a number of Australian stars in the shorter form such as Philip Hughes and Shaun Tait.
Meanwhile this will be left-hander Lumb’s third season with the Sixers after being a key man at the top of the Sydney outfit’s batting order in the first two tournaments. This included a successful run last year; despite missing the club’s final fixture because of international duty.
He’ll be linking up with two fellow Englishmen in Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara and Surrey man-mountain Chris Tremlett, as well as the likes of Brett Lee and captain Brad Haddin.
Michael Lumb in action with the Sydney Sixers
There will be eight teams competing for the Big Bash crown with twice runners up Perth Scorchers and Brisbane Heat likely contenders.
The Scorcher’s squad boasts the talents of Dwayne Smith and ex-Notts batter Adam Voges, while the Heat have a fearsome arsenal of fast bowlers that includes England’s tormentors Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson.
It’s no surprise that the Notts pair were highly sought after for the Big Bash squad selectors considering their international pedigree and current T20 form.
Hales, who is still only 24 years of age, has now twice fallen within striking distance of becoming England’s first scorer of a hundred in an international T20.
Boasting an average of nearly 40 in T20 internationals and a strike rate of 135.99, he is arguably one of the most dangerous T20 opening batsmen in the world – especially after his 94 in England’s last T20 international pushed him to the top of the ICC T20 batsmen rankings.
This was shown when the tall run-scorer smacked a blistering 89 off just 52 balls on his Big Bash debut for the Melbourne Renegades last year – a knock that included eight towering sixes.
Lumb too has been in good international form, hitting a quick-fire 43 in an opening stand of 111 with Hales in that second T20 with Australia back in August.
The Big Bash kicks off on December 20 with a league format involving each of the eight teams playing each other once, before the top four teams in the league progress to the semi-finals which will be held at the beginning of February.
The final will be held on February 7, and who knows, there is every chance that one of our Notts representatives will be on the winning side again.