One eye-catching signing seems to have propelled the Melbourne Stars to the head of the betting for the Big Bash League 04, although Ladbrokes customers would be far wiser to avoid their price in favour of a franchise with far richer history in the competition.
Kevin Pietersen will be one of the main attractions at this year’s tournament, but if his early life as a Twenty20 freelancer is anything to go by his presence won’t be anywhere enough to propel the Stars to their first ever BBL final.
Big names are to the Stars what mud is to a pig, with Shane Warne an early acquisition and Glenn Maxwell, appropriately named Big Show, a part of the current squad.
However, it is Pietersen’s inclusion that has made their 11/4 price the shortest of any team in the tournament, despite meagre returns for both the Delhi Daredevils and Surrey in recent T20 stints.
Instead the second-favourite Perth Scorchers, at 5/1, rate as far better chances to take the title, considering they are the defending champions and have an impressive record in the competition.
The Scorchers have never failed to reach the final of Australia’s T20 blitz, although last season was the first time that they have experienced the sweet taste of winners’ champagne.
Their squad is much the same as it was last term, with Michael Klinger and England’s own Michael Carberry two helpful additions to what is sure to be a respectable title defence.
Despite his age, 43-year-old left-arm wrist-spinner Brad Hogg is still a bewitching prospect to face for opposition batsmen, as his nine wickets in last season’s competition attests.
Yassir Arafat, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff all help form a formidable bowling attack alongside Hogg, and such a weighty price on the franchise repeating their success is hard to ignore.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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