West Indies batter Nicholas Pooran ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/nicholas-pooran-604302) and Pakistan keeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/mohammad-rizwan-323389) have both withdrawn from the BBL draft while Dane van Niekerk ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/dane-van-niekerk-364413) is out of the WBBL due to the fractured right thumb she suffered during the recent women’s Hundred.
Pooran and Rizwan were set to be platinum picks ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/rauf-pooran-harmanpreet-and-kapp-among-platinum-bbl-and-wbbl-draft-nominations-1394945) in the BBL draft and Pooran was potentially going to be a sort-after option given he was likely to be available up until finals before heading to the ILT20. But his West Indies white-ball commitments in December against England may have affected his early availability and he has withdrawn from the tournament.
Rizwan was always going to have availability issues given his commitments with Pakistan as they are playing three Tests against Australia in Australia across the first month of the six-week-long BBL.
Van Niekerk did not play in the WBBL last year but has previously played for Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers. But her fractured thumb ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/dane-van-niekerk-ruled-out-of-the-hundred-with-thumb-fracture-1392301) means she is unavailable for the tournament.
Meanwhile, former Australia fast bowler Peter Siddle ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/peter-siddle-7898) has returned to Melbourne Renegades after six seasons at Adelaide Strikers where he captained Strikers 27 times. Siddle, who will be 39 by the time the BBL starts, previously played seven games at Renegades from 2013-15 while he was a mainstay in Australia’s Test attack.
Renegades have become one of the oldest lists in BBL history with Siddle joining Nathan Lyon (35) as a new signing. Renegades already have three players over 35 – Shaun Marsh (40), Aaron Finch (36) and Jon Wells (35).
“We’ve made a concerted effort to add more experience to our playing list this off-season, so to welcome ‘Sidds’ back to the Renegades, alongside the additions of Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon is a fantastic result,” Melbourne Renegades General Manager James Rosengarten said.
“Sidds is well respected not just for his contributions with the ball over a long period of time, but for his leadership, tactical awareness and broader knowledge of players and the T20 landscape.
“He has plenty of existing relationships within our playing group and we know he will be an important contributor for us not only on the field, but with all the other attributes he brings that help build successful teams.”
Siddle was thrilled to be back in Melbourne having also moved back to Victoria in domestic cricket after three seasons with Tasmania.
“I’m excited to be returning to where my Big Bash journey started and to be back in red this year,” Siddle said.
“I’ve loved my time in Adelaide over the last six seasons. But it’s time for a new challenge, and I’m looking forward to reuniting with some good mates of mine at the Renegades.
“Looking at the playing list that’s being assembled, there’s no reason we can’t challenge for the title this year.
Elsewhere, Queensland and Australia A fast bowler Mark Steketee ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/mark-steketee-555853) has signed with Melbourne Stars in the BBL after 10 seasons with Brisbane Heat. Steketee has been a mainstay in all formats for Queensland and Heat but only played eight games in each of the last two BBL seasons. The emergence of Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett forced him out the Heat side last season and he did not play in their finals campaign.
He instead joins the Stars to bolster their bowling stocks alongside the off-season signings of Scott Boland and Joel Paris.
“We identified Mark as a target to further strengthen our fast-bowling stocks and we can’t wait to see what he can do at the MCG,” Melbourne Stars General Manager Blair Crouch said.
“He has been a consistent wicket-taker in the BBL over a number of years now and he’ll bring a lot of valuable experience and cricket IQ to the group.”
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