BBL - Hurricanes v Heat
HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Nathan Ellis of the Hurricanes celebrates the wicket of Chris Lynn of the Heat during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Brisbane Heat at Blundstone Arena, on January 01, 2022, in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)
BBL - Hurricanes v Heat

In four of the last five seasons, the Hobart Hurricanes have either fallen a step or two steps short of claiming the BBL crown. But this upcoming campaign might be their time to finally break through.

Already possessing a strong core of players including Riley Meredith, D'Arcy Short, and Matthew Wade, the Hurricanes only strengthened its depth. Recently, the Hurricanes signed English opening batsman Zak Crawley who will join the side in January.

His signing also comes after the side landed Pakistan trio Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, and Faheem Ashraf in August's inaugural BBL draft.

It's a strong team on paper, but the ultimate litmus test is to translate it into a deeper run when their campaign begins on Friday, December 16 against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG.

Here are some of the key players who are going to be integral to the Hurricanes' chances:

Players to watch

Matthew Wade

The veteran Australian batsman will be one that many opposition teams' video analysis group work on to dismiss the diminutive left-hander. After a solid campaign in BBL11 finishing third in runs amongst the team (325 at a strike rate of 134.85, including two half-centuries), Wade is firming to better it.

A luxury for the Hurricanes is the fact they can either shift D'Arcy Short or Ben McDermott to open alongside Wade, although results for first-wicket partnerships didn't fully flourish apart from an 111-run opening stand against the Sydney Sixers last season.

Still, this is a key weapon the Hurricanes have up their sleeve to get off to flying starts. Although Wade had outings of six single-figure scores in BBL11, it won't deter him once he gets his game going.

Currently, Wade is ninth all-time for runs scored in BBL history (2156), one which he will look to add and perhaps translate into more than two half-centuries in the previous campaign.

Ben McDermott

After putting pen to paper in September last year to stay with the Hurricanes until 2024, Ben McDermott rose to even greater heights with the bat.

McDermott left a trailblaze behind him in BBL11, becoming the first player in the tournament's history to score back-to-back centuries. Those came against the Adelaide Strikers and the Melbourne Renegades.

His potential was already known during the 2016/2017 (BBL06) campaign with a swashbuckling 114 of only 52 deliveries in a then record run-chase of 223. Last season, McDermott led the League in run-scoring with 577 runs at an incredible average of 48.08, including two centuries and three half-centuries.

Whenever he got his eye in, nullifying him as an opposition bowling unit was near on impossible to curtail. With McDemott arguably the Hurricanes' most important cog in the wheel, his contributions with the bat are going to be a major factor in the side registering substantial scores to running down totals.

Another run-filled campaign is on the cards for the hard-hitting right-hand batsman.

Tim David

Tim David's rise from WA Premier Cricket for Claremont-Nedlands to playing in the BBL, all the way to representing Australia has come in leaps and bounds. An ability to strike the cricket ball with devastating force, David will look to build upon his BBL11 campaign.

Although he finished the tournament scoring 218 runs despite no half-centuries, his valuable contributions were critical in the Hurricanes' adding valuable runs in the final overs  of innings.

These include a rapid-fire 30 not out of only 9 deliveries against the Melbourne Renegades, 22 not out of 12 balls against the Melbourne Stars and a destructive 46 not out including two sixes against the Renegades.

The team already has a batting lineup which can clear the boundary with ease in the likes of D'Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, and Ben McDermott. In David, it is icing on the cake for the Hurricanes when it comes to adding runs late in the piece.

Don't be surprised if the team pushes him up the order depending on the situation.

Player to watch

Joel Paris

Whilst this might be a surprise putting Joel Paris as the player who is going to have a breakout campaign despite being around the circuit for a while, his contributions with his steady left-arm pace will be vital.

Having overcome numerous injuries, the 29-year-old is ready to have a major say. Paris only played three games for his new team in BBL11 before hurting his groin against his former side: the Perth Scorchers.

His height along with his ability to swing the ball both ways will be integral to how the Hurricanes fare. Paris' absence certainly hurt the side's bowling stocks. But having him alongside talented quick Riley Meredith, Nathan Ellis to go with its International recruits Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf, its going to cause inroads within opposition batsmen.

Hurricanes matches to watch

Monday, December 19 v Perth Scorchers at University of Tasmania Stadium

Thursday, December 22 v Sydney Sixers at Sydney Cricket Ground

Monday, January 2 v Adelaide Strikers at Blundstone Arena

Wednesday, January 18 v Perth Scorchers at Optus Stadium

Wednesday, January 25 v Brisbane Heat at University of Tasmania Stadium