Sixers cop WBBL revamp for finals bid

Ellyse Perry will play a big part with ball in the WBBL despite being used sparingly for Australia.
Ellyse Perry will play a big part with ball in the WBBL despite being used sparingly for Australia.

Sydney Sixers coach Ben Sawyers has admitted the one-time glamour club of the WBBL have had to revamp their roster in a bid to return to the finals.

A much deeper Sixers squad will kick off this summer's Women's Big Bash in Thursday night's opener against the Melbourne Stars in Hobart.

In many ways the Sixers represent the growth of both the WBBL and women's franchise cricket.

They were able to reach the first four finals - winning two of them - with a team dominated by the same group of players with bat and ball.

Ellyse Perry, Ash Gardner, Marizanne Kapp, Dane van Niekerk and Erin Burns are all in the club's top seven run-scorers and wicket-takers, while Alyssa Healy opens and keeps wicket.

But with limited squad changes and a lack of depth in the squad, the Sixers have missed both of the last two finals with the better rounded teams advancing.

"It's something we spoke about," Sawyer said.

"We have had lots of all-rounders and it has almost made it hard for some people to have a big impact on our side.

"(At the start of the WBBL) I think every team had a couple of people who were there just to field because you had to field 11.

"But everyone now in our side will have a role with the bat or ball.

"Our No.10 will probably be a strike bowler, whereas maybe before they were a No.10 that didn't really bowl.

"That's not happening in any team any more and that's a really good thing. That's how the game has developed."

It's why the club has adopted a targeted approach to their recruitment.

Indian powerhouse Shafali Verma arrives as a top-order juggernaught, with the ability to strike at above 140.

That will give their batting more depth, with Nicole Bolton also strengthening a middle-order with their batting at the death found wanting in recent years.

Radha Yadav will also provide them with a left-arm orthodox bowling option for the first time with Maitlan Brown, Lauren Cheatle and Stella Campbell expected to strengthen their attack.

Perry will be given added responsibility with the ball following the departure of Kapp, after limited use for Australia in the T20s against India.

"You will see her bowl as much as she did a couple of years ago and have as much of an impact," Sawyer said.

"Our whole thing was to get a left-arm ortho, a spinning option, strengthen our middle order and allow us to go harder towards the back end."

The Stars will again start as one of the favourites while last year's champions the Sydney Thunder have taken a hit with Rachael Haynes out of the tournament.

The first 22 games will be played in Tasmania before matches move to Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.

Australian Associated Press