The fixtures for the 2022/23 Big Bash League campaign have been released and the Perth Scorchers, who are back on home soil, will once again be the team to beat.
The Scorchers overcame great hardship to win BBL 11 when beating the Sydney Sixers in the final and no-one could begrudge them their success.
Adam Voges’ side spent virtually the whole campaign on the road due to the Western Australia borders being closed but they still managed to get the job done.
They were the best team throughout the tournament and were rewarded for their efforts as they picked up their fourth BBL title.
Now the fixtures for BBL 12 are out and the Scorchers have been handed a huge boost with normality returning as seven out of the 14 fixtures are at Optus Stadium.
The Scorchers will be the hot fancies to take a fifth title so let’s take a closer look at the men from the west - their fixtures, their roster and their main rivals for the campaign ahead.
The Scorchers will be back on home soil playing in front of some bumper crowds at the impressive Optus Stadium.
They have seven fixtures in the west and begin with a cracker when they entertain the Sydney Sixers on Saturday 17th December in a repeat of the BBL 11 grand final.
Perth then travel to take on the Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Stars, but in another huge boost for the players they are back home for Christmas.
It is something they missed out on last year but the fact they play the Adelaide Strikers at Optus on Boxing Day and the Stars again on the 29th means they will be at home for the festive period.
They have four further home games in January against the Sydney Thunder, Brisbane Heat, the Hurricanes and Melbourne Renegades.
The finals campaign will run from Friday 27th January to Saturday 4th February and if all goes according to plan the Scorchers will be staying in the west for it.
The feel good factor of playing in front of their home fans again cannot be underestimated as the Scorchers go in search of more glory.
“To have that regular travel pattern again, albeit getting some block travel in there from a competitive point of view, will really help us as well,” Voges said. “Thankfully the Big Bash have listened to a couple of our wishes and we’ve got a travel schedule that’s a bit more friendly than what we’ve had in the past.”
The Scorchers had a star-studded roster last season with a blend of homegrown stars, marquee signings, youth and experience and will blessed with much of the same for BBL 12.
A draft has been introduced for the forthcoming campaign which will give the Scorchers the chance to recruit up to three primary oversees players.
All clubs also have a retention pick. That means they can keep a player if they played at least one game for the club last season.
As things stand reports claim that the Scorchers will look to retain New Zealand international Colin Munro, who could embark on his third season in Perth.
In a further boost for the Scorchers, pace bowler Jhye Richardson has committed his future by penning a deal for the next two seasons.
The Scorchers will once again be lead by influential skipper Ashton Turner and there is bags of quality throughout the side with the likes of Andrew Tye, Josh Inglis, Peter Hatzoglou, Jason Behrendorff, Cameron Bancroft, Mitch Marsh and Ashton Agar all on board.
Also the cancellation of Australia’s home one-day International series in mid-January could be a massive boost for the Scorchers with gun all-rounders Marsh, Agar and fast bowler Richardson likely to be available for longer.
“I think to have our Australian players available for bigger chunks of the Big Bash can only be a good thing for the whole competition, but also for us as well,” Voges said.
The Sydney Sixers won the title in 2019/20 and 2020/21 only to be denied the three-peat by the Scorchers in last season’s big dance.
But they are sure to come back stronger than ever and will be the biggest threat to the Scorchers’ chances of going back-to-back.
The Sixers have just been boosted by the news Steven O’Keefe has penned a new deal with the club, while former Australian captain Cameron White has arrived as assistant coach to Greg Shipperd.
Will be interesting to see who they bring in with the draft but already have a roster packed with quality. Including the likes of Josh Philippe, Nathan Lyon and Dan Christian. Moises Henriques will again skipper the side and they are sure to push the Scorchers hard.