The best T20 players without a BBL deal
Evan Gulbis might be Australia's most unlucky Twenty20 cricketer.
After limited opportunities at Melbourne Stars, the experienced all-rounder finds himself on the Big Bash League scrapheap one week from the start of BBL09.
The 33-year-old is largely the prototype T20 player, capable of batting anywhere from 1-7 and bowling four economical overs.
Gulbis is averaging 84 and has taken eight wickets in this summer's Vic Super Slam, a tournament which the Carlton captain dominated last season with 289 runs and seven wickets.
"It's a bit of a different one for me compared to the other guys. It's not about numbers, it's not about form. It's just about age maybe," Gulbis said.
Gulbis made 37 from 29 balls and 37 from 25 balls opening the batting alongside Ben Dunk when Melbourne Stars' international players were unavailable during BBL08.
Yet two games later - with Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell back - he was relegated to No. 7 in the Stars' line-up and did not feature.
"I am not going to be batting in front of those guys. Then with the bowling side of things we had an overseas all-rounder and those sorts of things matter as well," he said.
Gulbis typifies the leading crop of T20 players across Australia crying out for greater opportunity at the next level.
Players such as Sydney Uni's Hayden Kerr, 2018-19 Queensland player of the year Andrew Gode (Valley District) and Adelaide Uni all-rounder Will Bosisto have had a limited taste.
"There is a massive jump. You can only play against who you are playing against and unless you get the opportunity to actually have a crack, you won't actually know if the guys are up to it or not," Gulbis said.
"How do you prove it unless he gets given an opportunity?"
Lindisfarne's Mac Wright showed his quality with a Marsh Cup century against New South Wales and has previously been listed as a development rookie by Sydney Thunder.
His Tasmanian club coach, Matt Wilkie, says the leg-spin bowling all-rounder would slot seamlessly into any BBL side.
"A few years ago he was probably more of a leg-spinner and he's got great variation with that. His batting has just taken off," Wilkie said.
"I think he's really started backing himself and scores quickly now.
"He was a small player with a really good technique as a young bloke and he has just really expanded on that now and he can clear the boundary pretty easily. Especially leg side."
The advent of an Australian T20 Championships, a carnival which pits the best Premier clubs against each other for national honours, has given players such as Gulbis and Wright a perfect shop window to advertise their quality to BBL franchises.
"I think he's a perfect player to pick up," Wilkie said of Wright.
"He could bat anywhere really. He's faced the new ball a lot but he's also fast between the wickets. He could easily come in middle order and bowl a few overs. Pretty handy prospect for someone if they needed it."
THE BEST T20 PLAYERS OUTSIDE BIG BASH LEAGUE
*Players without a full contract for 2019-20
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