Nathan Coulter-Nile’s feat as a game-breaker in Perth’s final Champions League match arguably sums up the Big Bash League’s status as a feeder competition for the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).
Last summer, Coulter-Nile’s pace bowling and heavy lower-order hitting helped the Perth Scorchers into the BBL final and in turn, a place in India to perform on the world stage with cricket royalty such as Sachin Tendulker in the IPL.
However this time, the cricket spikes were on the other foot as Coulter-Nile’s destructive spell for Mumbai in the last Champions League T20 qualifier set Perth on the path to defeat as they ended a disappointing tour.
The right-arm fast bowler claimed 3-18 for Mumbai as the Scorchers overcame a slow start to post a competitive 6-149.
But the gulf between the teams – and leagues – was cruelly exposed by the Indians who raced to the target in 14.2 overs to reach the CLT20 semi-finals.
Perth coach Justin Langer said Coulter-Nile’s loss had been impossible to cover.
“What can you do about it?” he said. “That is the system. We try to groom our players to play for Australia but I guess there is another carrot there for them now in the form of the IPL.
“Maybe we can be proud of the fact that Nathan Coulter-Nile is playing for the Mumbai Indians which is one of the biggest sports franchises in the world.
“It is frustrating to come up against him but it is what it is.”
Langer also said Perth’s younger bowlers needed to master delivering yorkers like Coulter-Nile.