Joel Paris moves to Melbourne Stars in the BBL


Melbourne Stars have signed Western Australia left-arm swing bowler Joel Paris as they look to bolster their bowling stocks following a disappointing BBL campaign last season.

Paris is set to play for his third BBL club after stints at Perth Scorchers and Hobart Hurricanes. Paris has been a stellar performer at Sheffield Shield level for WA having been a vital member of their attack in back-to-back Shield triumphs which has led to his selection for Australia A in four-day cricket.

But he has been a fringe T20 bowler for a number of years having played just 37 BBL games over 10 seasons. He managed just 25 for Perth Scorchers between 2013 and 2020 having been carefully managed through some injury-ravaged seasons, with Scorchers predominantly using him as a reserve for Jason Behrendorff and keeping him fresh for red-ball duties with WA. In 2021 he moved to Hobart Hurricanes to play more T20 cricket but only managed 12 matches in two seasons. His best performance came in swinging conditions at the Gabba last season when he took 2 for 15 from four overs, including 13 dot balls.

Stars value left-arm pace bowlers having drafted two overseas left-armers last season in Trent Boult and Luke Wood. With no guarantees either would return, and the need to possibly use their No.1 overseas draft pick on a quality spinner following the loss of Adam Zampa, Stars took the chance to add Paris to the squad after also signing Australia Test quick Scott Boland.

“We identified a need for more left armers who could swing the ball in our team so to secure someone of Joel’s experience is fantastic for the squad,” Stars General Manager Blair Crouch said.

“He has been part of a very successful system in Perth for a number of years and knows what success looks like and we hope he can emulate that during his time as part of the Stars.”

Paris is also a long-time WA teammate of Stars trio Marcus Stoinis, Hilton Cartwright and Nathan Coulter-Nile with the latter also set to sign on for another season.

Meanwhile, Heat have re-signed Marnus Labuschagne for another season under the BBL’s new marquee supplementary list for Cricket Australia contracted players. Under the new rules BBL franchises will be able to contract as many CA contracted players as they like inside the AUD$3 million salary cap for their regular 18-man roster, as well as two additional players outside of the cap. Those players would be on a standardised AUD$50,000 deal.

If they end up playing, only then will their AUD$50,000 deal and AUD$30,000 match fees count to the cap. If the player’s availability comes through unforeseen circumstances, CA will also allow clubs to bring money out of the following season’s cap to fit them in.

That would likely only be activated for any player who has been dropped from Australian duties, or if international fixtures were to change. It is to avoid the situation that occurred in the last two seasons where Steven Smith was unable to play for Sydney Sixers due to league contracting rules, despite becoming available to play due to international scheduling changes.

Labuschagne has been a regular member of Australia’s Test side since 2019 and has had limited availability in the BBL for Heat due to his Test commitments but has still managed to play three, six, two, and eight games respectively in each of the Heat’s last four seasons. But he has been contracted under Heat’s salary cap in each season without guarantees of his availability. He is unlikely to play much at all this season with Australia playing Test matches throughout the entire BBL season, but Heat were keen to have him if he became available at short notice.

“We have seen the enormous impact that Marnus can have not only on a match, but more importantly on a season and on the entire squad, even if he’s only available for a few games, so we treated his re-signing as a priority,” Heat coach Wade Seccombe said.

“We don’t know yet exactly how many games he’ll be available for given his international commitments, but we know what he’ll bring to the table both on and off the field whenever he puts the Heat jersey on.”

Melbourne Renegades have re-signed promising allrounder Will Sutherland to a two-year deal that will see him remain at the club until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Hobart Hurricanes have re-signed 25-year-old batter Mac Wright for the upcoming 2023-24 season.

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