With the dust now well and truly settled on the 2022/23 Big Bash League for another year, Perth Scorchers’ fans can bask in the glory of another successful campaign. Their 4th February triumph over Brisbane Heat – a game they won by five wickets – saw them lift the trophy for a record fifth time, two clear of their nearest rivals the Sydney Sixers.
However, as has often happened with the Scorchers, they’re something of a victim of their own success. The prolific development of homegrown talent, combined with their on-field success, means that they’re unable to fit all of their players into the restrictive salary cap. So what does that mean for the Big Bash League 2023/24 season for the Scorchers? We’ll investigate below.
Bancroft on his way out
The biggest news to date is that opener Cameron Bancroft is set to depart the west coast this off-season. Bancroft was a revelation for the Scorchers last year, recording an average run rate of 51 to achieve an overall total of a whopping 357 runs. His impressive strike rate of 140 (up from 124.12 prior to last season) helped the Scorchers win back-to-back titles.
As such, you’d be forgiven for thinking he might be the first name on the team sheet next time around. However, Aaron Hardie, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis and Mitch Marsh could all be potentially ahead of him in the pecking order, while Andrew Tye, Ashton Agar, Ashton Turner, Jason Berendorff and Jhye Richardson complicate matters further.
For that reason, Bancroft appears to be surplus to requirements despite his heroics last year. Although the Scorchers would certainly love to keep him within their ranks, there’s simply not enough room on the wage bill, which is why Sydney Thunder have moved into pole position with a lucrative three-year deal. Bancroft is expected to switch coasts for the coming season.
History repeating itself
Losing their most talented homegrown players in this manner is hardly new territory for the Scorchers. In 2021/22, Bancroft himself was kept out of the team by Kurtis Patterson, who hit a career-high of 391 runs and departed soon after. In 2018/19, it was Nathan Coulter-Nile who took the plaudits before exiting stage left, while in 2016/17, Shaun Marsh bowed out from his time on the west coast with an astonishing 96 runs from 55 balls not out.
There are others to choose from, too. Corey Rocchiccioli, Hilton Cartwright, Joel Paris and Sam Whiteman could all legitimately lay claim to being some of the most important cricketers to have come from the west coast in recent years. All of them were forced out of Perth due to the constrains of the salary cap and the plethora of talent around them.
Of course, Perth haven’t always managed to pull off the tricky balancing act. In 2016, for example, they were fined $150,000 for exceeding their $1.3 million salary cap by $5,000. Although Cricket Australia acknowledged that the discrepancy was an accidental one, they wished to take a hard line on those kinds of transgressions and the Scorchers will be desperate to avoid a repeat in the future.
It’s not easy at the top and with so many good players coming through their ranks, Perth Scorchers will inevitably continue to lose some of their most talented individuals because of their own success and its incompatibility with the salary cap.