Let the willow wielding commence

Adelaide Strikers

SQUAD: Johan Botha (S Africa, captain), Jono Dean, Callum Ferguson, Alex Hales (England), Travis Head, Jon Holland, Phillip Hughes, Michael Klinger, Trent Lawford, Tim Ludeman, Andrew McDonald^, James Peirson*, Michael Neser, Ben Oakley, Gary Putland, Nathan Reardon, Kane Richardson, Shaun Tait, Adam Zampa.

INJURIES: Andrew McDonald missing, almost certainly will not return. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Phillip Hughes likely to miss the second half of the season, with Callum Ferguson and Kane Richardson also possible selections for Australia. 

STRENGTHS: Great batting line-up, lots of pace options. 

WEAKNESSES: Seamers can be expensive. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Travis Head. 

LAST SEASON: 5th 

PREDICTION: 1st

Brisbane Heat

SQUAD: James Hopes (c), Nick Buchanan, Joe Burns, Daniel Christian, Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Ryan Harris, Chris Hartley, Nathan Hauritz, Mitch Johnson, Craig Kieswetter (England), Chris Lynn, Alister McDermott, Luke Pomersbach, Chris Sabburg, Dan Vettori (NZ), Shane Watson. 

INJURIES: Ryan Harris likely to be very sore after the Ashes, while James Hopes now struggles to play regularly. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Hit very hard, with Mitch Johnson and Shane Watson needed across all formats by Australia. Ryan Harris and possibly Ben Cutting might be be called up. 

STRENGTHS: Pomersbach and Kieswetter can both dominate at the top, as can Chris Lynn slightly lower; Vettori due to play every match. 

WEAKNESSES: Burns, Forrest and Hartley can struggle with run-rate; back-up seamers lack experience. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Chris Lynn. 

LAST SEASON: 1st 

PREDICTION: 7th

Hobart Hurricanes

SQUAD: George Bailey (c), Travis Birt, Aiden Blizzard, George Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Cameron Boyce, Xavier Doherty, Ben Dunk, Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus*, Ben Laughlin, Shoaib Malik, Dimi Mascarenhas, Joe Mennie, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird, Owais Shah, Kelvin Smith^, Timm van der Gugten, Jon Wells. 

INJURIES: Ben Hilfenhaus is still battling a side strain. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: George Bailey will barely be available, while Xavier Doherty likely to miss most of second half. 

STRENGTHS: Travis Birt ranks among league’s most influential batsmen; international recruits typically low-profile but effective. 

WEAKNESSES: Batting depth, few bowlers who can regularly contribute with bat; spin options after Doherty departure. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Sam Rainbird. 

LAST SEASON: 6th 

PREDICTION: 8th

Melbourne Renegades

SQUAD: Aaron Finch (c), Fawad Ahmed, Jos Buttler (England), Tom Cooper, Alex Doolan, Andrew Fekete^, Matthew Gale*, Jake Haberfield, Mohammed Hafeez (Pakistan), Daniel Harris*, Jayde Herrick, Michael Hill, Solomon Mire^, Muthiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka), Peter Nevill, Aaron O’Brien, James Pattinson*, Jake Reed^, Nate Rimmington, Ben Rohrer, Will Sheridan, Peter Siddle. 

INJURIES: Gale, Harris and Pattinson are all sidelined initially, but are all expected to recover during the tournament. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: To lose its most influential player, Aaron Finch, in second half of season, but will regain Siddle after the Tests. 

STRENGTHS: Dearth of spin options; very reliable middle order. 

WEAKNESSES: Pace bowlers can be expensive; huge top-order hole when Finch leaves. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Tom Cooper. 

LAST SEASON: 3rd 

PREDICTION: 3rd

Melbourne Stars

SQUAD: Cameron White (c), Jackson Bird, Scott Boland, James Faulkner*, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, Brad Hodge, David Hussey, Alex Keath, Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Glenn Maxwell, Clint Mckay, James Muirhead^, Rob Quiney, Clive Rose, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Daniel Worrall, Luke Wright (England). 

INJURIES: James Faulkner has a fractured thumb, but not severe enough to require surgery. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: To fare better than previous years. While Faulkner, Mckay and Maxwell will miss a lot of the second half only White may join them, with Wade likely to play a full season. 

STRENGTHS: Outstanding top six; excellent fast-bowling depth. 

WEAKNESSES: Sole spinner Rose unproven in key role. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Marcus Stoinis. 

LAST SEASON: 4th 

PREDICTION: 2rd

Perth Scorchers

SQUAD: Simon Katich (c), Ashton Agar, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins*, Liam Davis, Ryan Duffield^, Brad Hogg, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joel Paris, Dwayne Smith (West Indies), Alfonso Thomas (S Africa), Tom Triffitt, Ashton Turner, Adam Voges, Sam Whiteman. 

INJURIES: Davis yet to recover from fractured finger; Cummins being eased back from serious back injury. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Nathan Coulter-Nile now high in Australian selectors’ plans, and could be joined by one or both of the Marsh brothers. 

STRENGTHS: Beer the most consistently miserly spinner; emergence of Whiteman strengthened top order. 

WEAKNESSES: Too many spinners given pace-friendly home conditions; batting depth harmed by departure of Marcus North. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Sam Whiteman. 

LAST SEASON: 2nd 

PREDICTION: 5th

Sydney Sixers

SQUAD: Brad Haddin (c), Sean Abbott, Ravi Bopara (England), Trent Copeland, Mark Cosgrove, Ben Dwarshuis, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Josh Lalor^, Brett Lee, Michael Lumb, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Marcus North, Steve O’Keefe, Jordan Silk, Daniel Smith, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc*, Chris Tremlett (England). 

INJURIES: Mitch Starc being managed carefully in comeback from back injury. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Haddin to be barely available, while Moises Henriques and Steve Smith are also likely to miss chunks of season due to Australia duty. 

STRENGTHS: Powerful top-order; economical spinners. 

WEAKNESSES: First-choice strike-bowlers Lee and Abbott can be expensive. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Sean Abbott. 

LAST SEASON: 7th 

PREDICTION: 4th

Sydney Thunder

SQUAD: Michael Clarke (c), Cameron Borgas, Ryan Carters, Scott Coyte, Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Luke Doran, Luke Feldman, Jason Floros, Daniel Hughes, Mike Hussey (vc), Usman Khawaja, Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka), Eoin Morgan (England), Dirk Nannes, Kurtis Patterson, Gurinder Sandhu, Chris Tremain, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Chris Woakes (England). 

INJURIES: Nannes has seemingly recovered from back injury suffered earlier this year. 

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Clarke and Warner will barely be sighted, but should be otherwise fine once the English and Sri Lankan imports swap after game two. 

STRENGTHS: Experienced batting recruits; improved spin options should suit expected pitch conditions at ANZ Stadium. 

WEAKNESSES: Very long tail; no stand-out pace support for Nannes and Feldman. 

EMERGING PLAYER: Kurtis Patterson. 

LAST SEASON: 8th 

PREDICTION: 6th

* = Currently on injured list
^ = Temporary replacement for injured player

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