Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond hopes having a settled roster in the Big Bash will pay dividends now as the business end of the season approaches.
The Thunder have a crucial game with the Hobart Hurricanes on Monday night, where a win will go a long way to securing a finals spot.
They remain in hot pursuit of a top-two finish and a guaranteed second chance.
Working in their favour is having the most settled squad in the competition.
Bond made a point of ensuring virtually player would be available for the whole BBL season, with England’s Sam Billings and Australia T20 squad member Daniel Sams the only players to arrive late.
All of their squad are also available to the end of the season, with no Australian Test players or other arrivals to disrupt the XI.
Bond has long hoped his deliberate plan would give him an advantage in team cohesion and chemistry, with his squad also changing very little from last year.
“I find that a fun part of coaching,” Bond told AAP.
“We just want players who are around for the whole tournament instead of players coming in and out.
“There’s obviously an expense for players coming in and out as well so that’s a whole lot of things you’ve got to be mindful of.
“You’ve got to have a long-term plan and work out who the core of your group are and who you want around for a long period of time.
“If you’ve got a hardened team we know how to play with each other, then you can have ongoing success.”
Bond is a big believer that this stability has advantages more than just on the field.
He believes it is crucial in building a fan base while overseas players have something to buy into, returning year on year with full seasons to play.
“You speak to guys who have done it overseas like Usman (Khawaja) and they say it’s easier going back into environments you already know with players you know,” Bond said.
“I think that’s better give them a selling point, and then it doesn’t become necessarily all about the money.
“You might take a little bit less money but you’re challenging for titles and you’re enjoying the cricket.”
It’s a theory Alex Hales subscribes to, now the Englishman is flourishing after playing for five weeks straight in Australia.
Hales is crucial to the Thunder’s title push, as the tournament’s second leading run-scorer while still going at a strike rate of above 160.
“I think it does make a difference. If you’re doing it with the same people, you go through the same emotions and if they do succeed, I think it does make it a lot sweeter,” said Hales.
“Everything feels really settled and it’s almost like a family kind of environment.
“When you’re staying away from home, that’s so important mentally.”