Stars set to shine when Big Bash returns to UTAS

All the action and fireworks of the Big Bash League will return to Launceston in a fortnights’ time with the Hobart Hurricanes taking on reigning champions the Perth Scorchers under lights at University of Tasmania Stadium.

After finishing fifth last year, the Hurricanes will be determined to push further into the finals this season on the back of a strong off-season, recruiting English batting star Zak Crawley, who will replace Shadab Khan when he is on international duties for Pakistan.

Crawley joins a long list of explosive T20 players, including Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Matthew Wade and D’Arcy Short.

Despite claiming their fourth BBL title last season, Perth has been busy in the off-season, signing former South African gun batsman Faf de Plessis, who will be available for the first seven matches of BBL12.

He joins an already star-studded line-up that includes Ashton Agar, Cam Bancroft, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Mitch Marsh and Englishman Tymal Mills.

The game is due to kick off at 7.15pm on Monday, December 19, with tickets available through Ticketmaster.

The Hurricanes’ match in Launceston will be available the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday, January 25 starting at 1.40pm.

Brisbane had a disappointing Big Bash tournament last season, finishing second last.

The Heat has signed Englishman Sam Hain, who will train with the squad from the start of the year, but will play as a replacement later in the tournament for the club’s international signings Sam Billings (England) and Colin Munro (New Zealand).

They join a strong line-up, which includes Test players Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne, as well as short-game specialists Max Bryant and Michael Neser.

City of Launceston Mayor Danny Gibson said he was thrilled to see Launceston again hosting top-level sport at UTAS Stadium after a busy pre-season that featured two one-day domestic games that showcased the growing reputation of the ground as a first-class cricketing venue.

“The Stadium and the playing surface are both in absolutely pristine condition so we’re all looking forward to showcasing the tremendous job our ground staff have done preparing for these upcoming games.”

Mayor Gibson said the games will provide cricket-mad Northern Tasmanians with the perfect opportunity to see some of the best T20 cricketers in the world up close and personal.

“There’s certainly some big names heading our way for these games – players such as Faf de Plessis, Tim David, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Cameron Green, Mitch Marsh, just to name a few,” Mayor Gibson said. “But with the wealth of talent that will be out in the middle, there’s little doubt we will be in for some wonderfully exciting and entertaining action across both of these matches.”

Tickets for the two Launceston games are available from the Ticketmaster website, or via the Big Bash official page.

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