Thursday, April 18, 2024

Adelaide Strikers: Danny Briggs is ready to take his BBL opportunity

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Photo Credit: Adelaide Strikers

Danny Briggs has been collecting wickets on English soil for more than a decade, and in exciting news for Adelaide Strikers fans, he is ready to cast his net across the pitches of Australia.

With a resume lined by almost 400 scorecards, left-arm spinner Danny Briggs brings a kitbag bursting with experience to the BBL alongside the ball-turning talent that has made him the most prolific wicket taker in the history of domestic English Twenty20 cricket.

Briggs has bowled in 142 T20 fixtures in the UK and taken 172 wickets, with best figures of 5/19. The 29-year-old sits seven wickets clear on top of the all-time standings, while his 3073 career deliveries place him third behind former English internationals Gareth Batty and Samit Patel.

When asked how it feels to be the caretaker of such a prestigious slice of English cricketing records, Briggs looks only to the future.

“It shows I’ve played a few games, but also that I have been successful and consistent, which is a good sign. Hopefully I can just sort of carry that on. I just try to learn as I go, and now I think I’ve gained enough experience to try and be successful in different competitions.

I’ve played a lot of games, but this is the first sort of franchise tournament I’ve gone to. I’m really looking forward to it and just want to take as much from it as I can. Playing in a different part of the world means you can always learn. I’ll just soak it all up.

His consistent performances from a young age saw Briggs debut in national colours at the age of 20, taking 2/39 in a One Day International against Pakistan. He then took to the international T20 stage later that same year, taking 1/16 on debut, including the prized wicket of Faf du Plessis.

“When T20 first came in, I guess my bowling just suited it. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity when I was 18 at Hampshire and I took it. I’ve never really looked back since, T20-wise.”

Strikers Head Coach Jason Gillespie coached Briggs during his tenure with Sussex and has spoken about the Englishman’s ability to bowl at any stage of the innings. Given the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket, it is vital to have versatility within the line-up, and that is something Briggs brings from across the seas.

“I try to be reliable, that’s a key. Through experience you just end up bowling those difficult overs at difficult times. That’s something I’ve done in the past and it’s something I’ll do again if needed.

I also pride myself on fielding really well and hopefully I can do that over here. I think that’s a non-negotiable now. You have to do two facets of the game well, if not three.”

Gillespie isn’t the only Sussex reunion for Briggs this season, he also joins former teammates Phil Salt, Rashid Khan and Alex Carey in the Strikers camp. Briggs and Salt in particular have played plenty of cricket together, with the two discussing a potential summer reunion in Adelaide during the English season before Gillespie got in touch. 

“Salty just loves it here. He’s always going on about it. When Diz spoke to me about the opportunity I 100% was always going to take him up. It’s a tournament I’ve wanted to play in for years and it’s not quite happened. To get the opportunity is something I am very grateful for.”

The Strikers BBL|10 campaign begins against the Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon, and after arriving in Tasmania on Monday, Briggs feels he is ready to go, with his hard quarantine in Perth upon arrival in Australia only increasing his appetite for cricket.

“Everyone has been really welcoming, they seem like a great bunch of lads, so I am really looking forward to a couple of months with them. Hopefully we go well and win a fair few games.

The whole bowling attack is so well balanced. The unit of seamers to go with our spin attack I think puts us in a good place. The whole squad has every base covered, now it’s about trying to perform the best we can as we go.”

The lure of Adelaide Oval also appears to have claimed another cricketer, with Briggs already putting a highlighter to work on the fixture in anticipation of the first clash at the iconic venue.  

“I was 12th man for a few games at Adelaide Oval when England toured a few years ago. It’s an amazing ground and I can’t wait to actually play rather than run the drinks around. To be part of a home team will be very special.”

When it comes to special moments however, Briggs, despite having a first-class century to his name, is more than happy for the top order to get the job done with the bat. He laughs when asked if he is looking forward to wielding the willow during BBL|10.

“Oh, if I bat, I would love a nice easy situation to win. Single of the last ball would be ideal. Nothing too stressful.”

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