A sense of “unfinished business” and a desire to lead the Perth Scorchers to KFC T20 Big Bash League glory has kept highly-respected former international Simon Katich in the west for a third season.
Katich returns alongside the Scorchers’ most economical bowler from the past season Michael Beer, while the re-signed pair will be joined by former Under-19 Australian international and rising star Ashton Turner and aggressive opening batsman Liam Davis.
The signings - announced today by coach Justin Langer at a joint WACA-WA Special Olympics event at Arena Joondalup for children with a disability - leave six spots available on the Scorchers list, including the two for overseas players.
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Katich, who played 56 Tests for Australia at an average of 45 runs before retiring from international cricket last year, represented the Scorchers in the opening two seasons of the BBL, playing 19 matches across both campaigns and captaining the side last season to its second consecutive BIG FINAL.
The 37-year-old was a valued member of the side that reached the BBL|02 final with an average of more than 27 runs and a high score of 66 against the Hobart Hurricanes on New Years Day.
Katich’s form has been exceptional of late, with the batsman clocking over at an average of more than 70, approaching a return of 1000 runs from his English summer campaign and having knocked a recent double-century for Lancashire.
Katich, who will resume the captain’s mantle, said he returned to the Scorchers with a sense of “unfinished business”.
“I wanted to play another season with the Scorchers as I feel we still have unfinished business,” Katich said.
“We have been very consistent in the first few seasons but unfortunately we were outplayed on the day in both finals.
“The hurt of missing those opportunities will only keep us hungry and more determined to work harder this year to put us in contention again.
“I really enjoyed leading the Scorchers and working closely with Justin Langer and our coaching/support staff to help us try and be successful.
“Although we didn't quite achieve our goal last summer I was very proud of the efforts and work ethic that everyone displayed and know we will be hungry to go one better this summer.”
The Perth Scorchers identified Beer as a crucial member of the squad from BBL|02 and retained the left-arm orthodox spinner for a third consecutive season amidst avid interest from other franchises. The twice-capped Test player took 10 wickets across his 10 matches for the Scorchers last season at an average of a little more than 21 runs, with best figures of 2-14.
Turner is set to take the unorthodox step of making his first-class debut for country before state, after he was selected for Australia’s tour match against Sussex, starting tomorrow. The 20-year-old was snared off the back of a swashbuckling debut in the Ryobi One-Day Cup for the Warriors last season, in which he made a quick-fire 51 off 43 balls and took 1-32 from six overs against Tasmania. Turner took 16 wickets with 344 runs in 11 games for Fremantle in the 2012-13 District first grade season.
Davis re-joins the Scorchers squad after being a member of the team’s inaugural campaign, however, he did not take to the field that year due to injury. The 2011-12 season remained successful for Davis and the opening batsman notched a remarkable triple century in BUPA Sheffield Shield, making 303 not out against NSW and capturing the prestigious Laurie Sawle medal as the Warriors’ Player of the Season. The 28-year-old will be keen to bounce back after a lean 2012-13.
Today’s announcement builds on a crucial core-group retention that teams across all sporting codes label as pivotal to success. The Perth Scorchers have 12 players on the current list for BBL|03, with only two of those – Turner and Davis – new faces.
Langer said that experience would prove fruitful for the side.
“The history and the camaraderie that a team builds is often the glue that holds it together when the pressure is on,” Langer said.
“In Twenty20 cricket, there’s always plenty of pressure, so it’s nice to know you’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a group of guys you’ve previously performed well with.
“Experience is a wonderful thing and the fact we’ve made the past two BBL finals is a great credit to the Scorchers.
“We’ll be looking to go one step forward, but if we can continue to play the exciting and explosive cricket we have over the past two seasons, then hopefully the silverware will look after itself.”
Current Perth Scorchers playing list: Simon Katich (c), Michael Beer, Ashton Turner, Liam Davis, Adam Voges, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitch Marsh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Shaun Marsh, Tom Triffitt.