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Stuart Dalgleish 15th Dec 2011 - 8:25

Big Bash can earn you plenty of cash

KFC Twenty20 Big Bash League preview - watch each game live on William Hill TV

The main attraction at this year's Big Bash League is Shane Warne (16/1 top tournament bowler), with the Australian legend coming out of retirement to play for the Melbourne Stars (9/2).

The spinner joins an impressive looking squad that also boasts Aussie internationals David Hussey (16/1 top bat), Cameron White (top bat 33/1), Peter Siddle and James Pattinson, as well as England limited-overs stars Luke Wright (50/1 top bowler, 66/1 top bat) and Jade Dernbach (20/1 top bowler).

The English pair should get plenty of game time as some of their Australian players will be called up to play in the upcoming Test series with India.

Dernbach for me looks like a great shout for an each-way bet in the top bowler market, he should really get the most out of the Australian tracks, that have certainly been favouring the quicks in their recent series against New Zealand.

The Stars are worthy favourites, and next in the betting are fellow Melbourne outfit the Renegades (5/1).

They are up there in the betting as none of their players are going to be needed for international duty, but that's not to say that the players they have in their side are not international class.

They have a fairly weak batting line-up in my opinion, but they have three outstanding bowlers including the brilliant Shahid Afridi (12/1), who along with Shaun Tait (10/1) and Dirk Nannes (14/1) will be able to ensure that they're never chasing too many to win their matches.

Aaron Finch (14/1) and Brad Hodge (9/1) will be the men they're relying on to score those runs, but if they don't deliver there isn't too much else to write home about.

Brisbane Heat (5/1) look to be the opposite of the Renegades, they have some fine batting options but will be hampered if Ryan Harris and Nathan Hauritz (25/1) head off with the Test team, although Hauritz does seem to be out of the international picture at the minute.

Although it didn't cause as much publicity as Warne, Matthew Hayden (22/1) has also put the golf clubs away and got the cricket kit back out of the attic, and he should open their batting.

New Zealand duo Daniel Vettori (if he's fit) and Brendon McCullum (18/1 top bat) will add experience to the side with both having a wealth of Twenty20 appearances under their belts, internationally and in the IPL, McCullum could provide an explosive pairing with Hayden opening.

Adelaide Strikers (5/1) have some real limited-overs specialists in their team.

Kieron Pollard (33/1 is fresh from a fine century against India for the West Indies and when he's full of confidence he's a cracking batsman.

Johan Botha (25/1) will always pick up wickets, and can be useful for some middle-order runs too, while Alfonso Thomas (25/1) is one of the finest death bowlers in Twenty20 cricket, he also has appeared in several finals for Somerset so knows how to go deep in limited-overs competitions.

Sydney Thunder (7/1) could be the dark horse for the tournament, but they will have to hope that Doug Bollinger (16/1) doesn't get called up as their bowling attack isn't the strongest, Fidel Edwards (33/1) will be a threat though.

It's the batting line-up that should really make the Thunder contenders.

While he's with the Sydney outfit, Usman Khawaja (66/1) will score runs for fun, but he's certainly going to be involved with the Test team as he's overtaken Ricky Ponting's number three slot.

David Warner (10/1) is the team's captain, but he might end up playing for the Test team if Shane Watson doesn't win his fitness battle, he just blasted a fine century against New Zealand but the Aussies lost in shambolic fashion.

Chris Gayle (7/1) is without doubt their star man and is capable of winning games single-handedly with his huge power hitting, the West Indies board really need to make up with the all-rounder as they're struggling in his absence.

Sydney Sixers (7/1) possess a squad that's rich in talent, but the only problem is that most of them will not be available to the team as they're key members of the national set-up.

Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and Steve Smith (100/1 top bat) would slot into most Twenty20 teams, but they won't get into their own team too often due to international commitments.

Another of their players, Stuart MacGill (66/1) didn't get the amount of international appearances that his talent merited, due to being behind a certain Shane Warne in the spin department of the all-conquering Australian team of the 90s.

The tweaker should be able to get plenty of overs in during the tournament though and if the pitches are turning then he'll be a useful option.

More bowling choices come from Brett Lee (16/1) and Dwayne Bravo (40/1 bowler, 80/1 bat), with the former likely to lead the attack if he can remain fit.

The Sixers will also be able to name a World Twenty20 winner in their team as they've signed up England's Michael Lumb (25/1 bat) to go with Bravo as their overseas players.

If they don't get totally decimated by the international scene they could go well.

Hobart Hurricanes (7/1) might well be one of the outsiders, but they have several players who will want to prove to selectors that they're good enough for international selection.

Ricky Ponting of course is still getting selected, but you sense his days are numbered in the Baggy Green, a few decent knocks in the BBL could stretch his career out a little longer though.

It's mainly their bowling attack that features Aussie fringe players; Xavier Doherty (16/1) will be remembered in England as the player who was tonked all over the park during the Ashes, but he is a useful turner of the ball.

Ben Hilfenhaus (20/1) took plenty of wickets in the UK during the 2009 series, but was then pretty average in the return fixtures.

Jason Krejza (25/1) was someone I thought would go well at the World Cup but the tournament passed him by if truth be told.

Mark Cosgrove (33/1) and England international Owais Shah (50/1) are both useful limited-overs players, but consistency remains a problem for Shah, while Cosgrove is not the fittest.

With motivation a factor for quite a few, they might catch people by surprise, but I can't see them challenging really.

Perth Scorchers (8/1) could have pulled off a coup with the signing of Mitchell Johnson, if he doesn't get called up to the national team.

'Mitch' has undoubted talent, but his action can be all over the place if he's not switched on, he will play in at least their first match, but could be lining up in the Test team come Boxing Day.

Johnson at 30 is actually one of the younger members of the Scorchers squad.

They have acquired several high-profile players who are 35+, and one of them Paul Collingwood (66/1 bat, 100/1 bowler) still harbors feint hopes of helping England defend the World Twenty20 in 2012.

The Durham man is a fantastic player in the short forms and along with Herschelle Gibbs (16/1), Simon Katich (33/1) and Brad Hogg (50/1 bowler) he can help out in both departments, taking the pressure off an otherwise inexperienced attack.

So now you know the squads, sit back and enjoy what should be six weeks of hard-hitting exhilarating Twenty20 cricket, live on William Hill TV!



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