Our 2018-19 Big Bash League team previews continue today as we take a look at the Brisbane Heat. The Heat will be looking to bounce back from a seventh-place finish last season and we take a look at their chances below.
Last Season: 7th
In: James Pattinson, Jack Prestwidge, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Matt Kuhnemann
Out: Shadab Khan
Current Squad: Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Brendan Doggett, Sam Heazlett, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum, James Pattinson, Jimmy Peirson, Jack Prestwidge, Matthew Renshaw, Alex Ross, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
BBL06 saw a return to the final series for the Brisbane Heat after three years of finishing 5th or lower. Unfortunately, they were straight back down to the tail end of the ladder in BBL07, finishing 7th ahead of only the Melbourne Stars. They were a little unlucky, however, as they finished on the same amount of wins (4) as both of the Sydney teams that finished above them and just one win behind the Hobart Hurricanes who finished in 4th place.
The Heat will once again be captained by New Zealand star batsmen Brendon McCullum, who had a down year in BBL07 with just 248 runs and at 37 years of age, will be looking to potentially go out with a bang in the Big Bash League this season.
McCullum and T20 superstar Chris Lynn will shoulder the bulk of the responsibilities at the top of the order. Injuries are always a concern for Lynn, but if he can replicate even a percentage of the dominant season he had in BBL06, then the Heat should be in good shape. Lynn could miss some games late in the regular season for the ODI series against India but should the Heat make the finals, he will be right to play given he is healthy.
Matt Renshaw was left out of the Test squad for the first and second Tests against India and will therefore play a role in the Heat’s top order alongside Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Ross and Sam Heazlett while Jimmy Peirson will take the gloves. When healthy, the Heat line-up is one of the best in the business and with Burns and Renshaw unlikely to be hindered by international duty this season, it looks even stronger. Add hard hitting all-rounder Ben Cutting to the middle order and the Heat have the talent to go all the way in BBL08.
The Heat will take a risk on injury prone paceman James Pattinson this season, hoping he can return to the form that had him in Test selection conversations a few years ago. Mark Steketee, Brendan Doggett and Jack Prestwidge make up the rest of the pace attack, but it’s the spinners that will likely determine the result on a night to night basis for the Heat.
Yasir Shah was the frontline spinner for the Heat last season and while he is still on the Heat roster, he will likely play a limited role this year due to international duty with the Pakistani team. In his place, the Heat have signed young Afghani spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who will become the youngest player to ever play in the BBL at just 17 years of age and remains the only man born in the 21st century to play international cricket. Along with leg-spinner Mitch Swepson, the Heat pose a dynamic spin attack which should keep them competitive.
1. Matt Renshaw
2. Brendan McCullum
3. Chris Lynn
4. Joe Burns
5. Marnus Labuschagne
6. Jimmy Pierson
7. Ben Cutting
8. James Pattinson
9. Mark Steketee/Brendan Doggett
10. Mitch Swepson
11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
There’s no doubting that the top two or three batsmen for the Heat can win games off their own bat on any given night. Chris Lynn and Brendan McCullum are two of the best in the business while Ben Cutting continues to be undervalued as a true game-winning closer with both bat and ball.
The Heat have been inconsistent with their finishes over the past two seasons because their game revolves around an all or nothing approach. We think with Lynn available for more of the season this year, they should have a better shot at converting more of those big match winning partnerships.
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