Brothers unite for bash at big time
Brothers Blake and Jono Dean are waiting in the wings for the Melbourne Renegades. Photo: Gary Schafer
They went their separate ways at club level, but the Melbourne Renegades have reunited Jono and Blake Dean for the Big Bash League.
The Dean brothers are among four ACT Comets who have secured supplementary contracts for the lucrative Twenty20 competition.
Veteran all-rounder Mark Higgs and left-arm paceman Ben Oakley are on standby for the Adelaide Strikers for the tournament, which gets under way on Friday night with the Melbourne derby between the Stars and Renegades.
Mark Higgs. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
All four will remain in Canberra and can be called in to cover for injuries or players unavailable due to international commitments.
The Dean brothers were teammates at Queanbeyan before Blake switched clubs in the off-season to join Tuggeranong.
The move hasn't had a downward swing on their form, with Jono leading from the front with the bat as captain of the Comets while Blake is an effective leg-spin bowler in the shorter form of the game.
Ben Oakley. Photo: Graham Tidy
Blake showed he can also score at a rapid rate, knocking a quickfire 40 for the Comets during their three-game series against a Renegades team featuring former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan earlier this week.
''Blake's been hitting the ball really well the last few months and really deserves that spot,'' Jono Dean said.
''Hopefully we can get a call-up and get back together.''
Jono Dean was on the cusp of earning a contract with the Perth Scorchers for this year's Champions League tournament in South Africa.
Higgs pulled up stumps on his playing career at the end of last season, but came out of retirement for the Comets after attracting the interest of the Strikers.
While the 36-year-old missed out on a spot on the main roster, the departure of several of the team's spin options leaves him in line for an opportunity.
Off-spinner Jon Holland will miss the entire competition with a shoulder injury, while Australian tweaker Nathan Lyon and Pakistani import Saeed Ajmal will play a limited number of games.
The strong ACT representation is a plus for the region as it continues to lobby for inclusion in the Big Bash League when Cricket Australia decides to expand the competition.
''Having a few of us pick up deals is a good thing for ACT cricket and shows we're moving in the right direction,'' Jono Dean said.
''Hopefully we can have more guys move up to higher honours in the future.''
Meanwhile, Muralitharan spoke on Thursday of his love for Australia, despite being called for chucking in the 1990s.
''I had kind of bad memories in 1995 but I've put all that [to the] back [of my mind],'' Muralitharan said. ''I've loved Australia always because it's a sporting country.
''I have played all over the world in Twenty20 competitions. I thought come and play in Melbourne, especially because of the big Sri Lankan community.
''I love cricket. I want to be involved. Without cricket, there is nothing.''
Muralitharan will go head to head with Stars skipper and former Australian spin great and rival Shane Warne in the Big Bash opener on Friday night.
While 43-year-old Warne and 40-year-old Muralitharan are confident of having success in the BBL, Warne joked his bowling was mainly bluff.
''I only bowl the straight one really these days,'' he said. with AAP
Big Bash game one: Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars at Etihad Stadium, 7pm. TV Time: Live on Fox Sports 2.