Champions League T20 2013 September 19, 2013

Absence of seniors a setback for Brisbane Heat

Like Perth Scorchers, Australia's BBL champions Brisbane Heat will enter this tournament without their leading run scorer from last summer. Luke Pomersbach is unavailable for the Champions League for family reasons and the squad will also have to do without Shane Watson, who will be playing for Rajasthan Royals; Mitchell Johnson, who is with Mumbai Indians; Thisara Perera, who is with Sunrisers Hyderabad; and the injured Ryan Harris. It leaves them short on big names, although any attack boasting Kemar Roach must still be respected, while Alister McDermott, Ben Cutting and Nathan Hauritz will back him up with a combination of youthful talent and experience. The captain, James Hopes, has plenty of international experience on which to draw as well.

Watson's presence would really have been a bonus, for he played only one game in the BBL last summer, but the absence of Pomersbach (397 runs at 44.11) is a major blow to the batting. Joe Burns is a serious young talent but one more suited to the longer formats, while Chris Lynn perhaps has the power to have an impact in this tournament and could use it as a chance to kickstart his season. Much will be asked of Daniel Christian, the allrounder, who has played Twenty20 cricket for three IPL franchises, two counties and three Australian domestic teams, as well as 11 times for his country.

Key player
That Daniel Christian has the ability to be a force in this tournament, with both bat and ball, is not in question. But after a difficult 2012-13 summer, which led him to move from South Australia to Victoria during the off season, it will be interesting to see whether he enters this series with a freer approach and a clearer mind. A clean hitter and wicket-taking seamer - though one who can be expensive in T20 cricket - Christian was considered good enough to be part of Australia's World T20 campaign last year, but has not played international cricket since.

Surprise package
One way or another, allrounder Chris Sabburg will be a surprise package in this tournament if he plays. Why? Because he is yet to bat or bowl for Brisbane Heat, despite playing for them three times last summer. He did, however, take five catches, and has an impressive pedigree - he is the cousin of former Australia fast bowler Andy Bichel and the nephew of the former Queensland fast bowler Dirk Tazelaar. A worker at Brisbane's fruit and vegetable markets, Sabburg bowls offspin and bats left-handed.

Given the subcontinental pitches on which this tournament will be played, the Heat's spin depth could be a concern. Hauritz is the only specialist spinner in the squad, and Sabburg is the only man who could offer him any significant backup, although Lynn's part-time left-armers have been used on occasion. It also appears doubtful whether the squad boasts enough big-hitting batsmen, the same issue that might affect their compatriots the Perth Scorchers.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Patrick on September 22, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    This tournament is a complete joke, obviously set up to get the prize money back into the Indian teams. Always played in Indian conditions, IPL teams get first pick of all the star players while the local teams have to make do, it's hard to take this farce seriously. It would be nice to have a real Champions League like other sports.

  • Jay on September 20, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    Won't be surprised to see these guys knocked out first up along with the Scorchers. These guys can't play spin or on slow, low tracks. T&T, CSK, and MI are the favourites to lift the trophy.

  • Bryn on September 20, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    haha even missing those players this is as star-studded world class team as there is in the tournament

  • Android on September 20, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Come on BH!win this title without watto

  • AMAR on September 20, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    due to absense of some key players, Brisbane heat has a good squad and could a strong team in CL T20.i think heat is a favourite team in this tounament.chennai, mumbai,t&t also strong teams.but heat is the best for tittle.i also appreciate Perth scorchers because he has also a surprise package for some other teams in CL T20.

  • Vamsi on September 20, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    come on BH.. surprise every one,, by taking the title