Home » Scorchers lock in future after Connolly’s ‘surreal’ breakout | cricket.com.au

Scorchers lock in future after Connolly’s ‘surreal’ breakout | cricket.com.au

Scorchers lock in future after Connolly’s ‘surreal’ breakout | cricket.com.au

WA allrounder signs two-year extension as Perth chase ‘ultimate goal’ of sixth men’s title in BBL|14

Perth have locked away a key pillar of their future with young gun Cooper Connolly to stay a Scorcher until at least the end of KFC BBL|16.

The hero of the Scorchers’ record fifth men’s Big Bash title last year, Connolly has added another two seasons to his existing deal that was due to expire at the end of this summer.

It comes after the club announced yesterday Nick Hobson – his batting partner during that memorable BBL|12 Final in front of 53,886 fans at Optus Stadium – had recommitted for the coming season.

Perth Scorchers BBL|14 squad (so far): Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Cooper Connolly, Aaron Hardie, Nick Hobson, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Mitch Marsh, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner

Connolly backed up his breakout four appearances in the Scorchers’ title-winning 2022-23 campaign by featuring in every game last season, registering 181 runs at the side’s third highest strike rate (136.09, minimum 50 runs) behind Laurie Evans (189.61) and Hobson (141.86).

The 20-year-old left-hander also made his mark in the longer format last summer with a match-turning 90 on first-class debut in the Sheffield Shield final against Tasmania to help deliver Western Australia a third straight title.

Connolly stars on debut with 90 in Shield final

The former Australian under-19 captain also impressed with his left-arm finger spin in BBL|13 with six wickets in 11 overs – the best strike rate (11) and average (12.66) of any Scorchers bowler for the season.

“The last couple of years have been pretty surreal,” Connolly said. “That BBL|12 Final, and then playing a bit more last year, I’m excited to see what the next few seasons hold.

“It’s still pretty early in my career so I’m honestly just trying to soak up as much as I can from my teammates and our coaches, who do a great job preparing us each week.

“I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of playing a few different roles with the bat and ball and testing my strengths against some really good players.

Inside story of Perth’s epic BBL|12 Final run chase

“As a group, our ultimate goal is to win another title in front of our members and fans, so I’m aiming to contribute in any way I can.”

After beginning last season opening alongside English imports Zak Crawley and Stephen Eskinazi, Connolly slotted back into his familiar middle-order role, playing crucial knocks against Brisbane Heat (35 off 25), Sydney Sixers (37no off 18) and Adelaide Strikers (31 off 22) in their final three games of the BBL|13.

Scorchers high performance general manager Kade Harvey said the club believes Connolly has a “significant upside”.

“The exciting thing about Cooper is he’s still a young cricketer with plenty of development left,” he said.

“We’ve already seen glimpses of his ability, and anyone who watched the BBL|12 Final or last year’s Sheffield Shield final knows there isn’t much that flusters him.

“As a batter, he times it beautifully and can bat anywhere in the order. With the ball, he has good control and reads the game well … we’re looking forward to seeing what he becomes in the next few years, and into the future.”

After Hobson re-signed on a one-year deal, Liam Haskett, Hamish McKenzie, Sam Whiteman and Andrew Tye are the remaining Scorchers players from last season still out of contract heading into the new campaign, with left-armer wrist spinner McKenzie reportedly attracting interest from Melbourne Stars.

The club will have picks 7, 15, 18 and 31 in September’s BBL|14 Draft where they’ll have retention rights over Evans, Crawley and Eskinazi. should those players nominate for the draft. They can also sign one international to a multi-year deal prior to the draft under the league’s new contracting mechanism for overseas players.

The competition’s most successful men’s club will launch BBL|14 against the Stars on Sunday, December 15, with their opening fixture the season announced over the weekend ahead of the full schedule reveal tomorrow morning.