Ben Jones looks at how the Southern Brave performed on draft-day, and how their squad is shaping up.
Squad: Jofra Archer, David Warner, Andre Russell, Marcus Stoinis, James Vince, Liam Dawson, Chris Jordan, Danny Briggs, Tymal Mills, Delray Rawlins, Alex Davies, George Garton, Ross Whiteley, Max Waller, Craig Overton
Draft Activity: David Warner (100k), Danny Briggs (48k)
Two very nice bits of business for Southern Brave. Having been drafted to the Ageas in the first draft, David Warner was then forced to drop out over availability issues, replaced by Marcus Stoinis. Having then released Shadab Khan, Southern were able to bring the Australian legend back into their squad – it all worked out fine in the end. The arrival of Danny Briggs in the 48k round is tidy work from Southern as well, given Briggs’ vast domestic experience in the UK, and the spin-friendly conditions we’re used to seeing in Southampton.
Southern Brave’s batting potential remains outstanding. The obvious overseas heft – Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Andre Russell, the latter striking at a quite remarkable 193 in the death overs – is backed up by local man James Vince. A classy and experienced short-form performer who strikes at 125 against all bowler types, Vince is ticking along just fine off the back of an excellent BBL season for Sydney Sixers. On top of that, you have the destructive left-handers Delray Rawlins and Ross Whiteley, the latter’s six-hitting ability the cherry on the cake for this group. A beautiful balance of left and right-handedness, pace and spin strength, with the possibility of bowling overs from Russell and Stoinis as a bonus. It is a superb base from which to build.
When Jofra Archer is around, Southern have the best seamer in the competition, the England quick offering his almost unparalleled blend of high pace, effective variations and excellence throughout the innings. Yet even when Archer is not there, Southern don’t lack for heat – George Garton and Tymal Mills have both been plagued by injury, but both can deliver high speed bowling when they’re fit and firing. Mills also happens to be one of the best – and most underrated – death bowlers around, and the combination of him and Archer (as well as Chris Jordan) in the final overs is a scary thought for batsmen.
They are also likely to avoid any issues with availability. Only Archer is likely to head off to the Test squad, with the rest of the team available throughout the competition. Mahela Jayawardene has typically favoured consistent selection at Mumbai, making only slight changes to the XI for particular opponents, so this is clearly beneficial to the Sri Lankan.
Waller, Briggs and Dawson are all very solid spin options, but Southern do lack a top class overseas spinner of the Mujeeb, Narine, Rashid level. While you would imagine it would not concern them too greatly, given the quality is at least consistent, Southern may be more concerned by the absence of a left-to-right spinner, to combat left-handers; all of Briggs, Waller, and Dawson, turn the ball the same way – a slight tactical oversight.
Injury concerns around David Warner could also put a spanner in the works. His recovery from a groin injury are ongoing, and hard to assess from the outside, but his comments in the media over the last few days would not fill Southern fans’ hearts with joy. He can of course be replaced, with plenty of talent available to take his place, but Warner is still among the very best in his role, and would be a loss for any side.
Likely XI: Warner, Stoinis, Vince, Davies +, Russell, Rawlins, Whiteley, Dawson, Jordan, Mills, Waller
Ben Jones is an analyst at CricViz.