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Brisbane Heat look to be more than just the entertainers

The club are searching for consistency after a history marked by huge swings in fortune

Brisbane Heat are focused on winning rather than just entertaining  •  Getty Images

Brisbane Heat are focused on winning rather than just entertaining  •  Getty Images

Captain Usman Khawaja
Coach Wade Secccombe
Squad Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Sam Billings (England), Max Bryant, Sam Heazlett, Spencer Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Colin Munro (New Zealand), Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson, Will Prestwidge, Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Ross Whiteley (England), Jack Wildermuth.
In Sam Billings, Spencer Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Colin Munro, Matthew Renshaw, Ross Whiteley
Out Chris Lynn, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Matthew Willans, Ben Duckett, Tom Abell, Connor Sully

What happened in the draft

Heat picked star BBL performer Sam Billings after Sydney Thunder decided not to use their retention option. It was a similar story for big-hitter Colin Munro, who Perth Scorchers opted not to retain. English left-handed batter Ross Whiteley was a left-field selection but looms as an option for the finishing overs.

Last season: 7th

Hopes were high entering the season but Heat endured a rocky start as their high-voltage batting order failed to click with star Chris Lynn struggling to recapture his previous heights. Heat were thrown into chaos when 12 players and coach Wade Seccombe tested positive to Covid-19 and were forced into seven days isolation under the rules at the time. Heat never recovered and lost their last six games to finish with just three wins for the season.

International impact

New recruit and skipper Usman Khawaja will miss the early parts of the season due to Test commitments and so too Marnus Labuschagne. Michael Neser is now also part of the Test squad and could remain there for the whole South Africa series. Mitchell Swepson will likely be in the Test squad to tour India which departs during the finals. Billings and Munro will be available for about half the season having committed to the UAE's new T20 league.

Key player

Heat have several big name batters but availability will likely see some chopping and changing with the line-up. Thus Matt Renshaw looms as a stable figure as he's likely to be available throughout. Renshaw returns to Heat in essentially a swap with Lynn, who has moved to Adelaide Strikers. There will be pressure on Renshaw after Lynn's heroics for many seasons as Heat's talisman. But Renshaw has started the domestic season in hot form, so much so that he's now on the Test fringes. The BBL, of course, is a different ball game but Renshaw in recent years has expanded his repertoire of shots and can be extremely dangerous. If he can fire early then Heat - a traditionally hot or cold team - can build momentum ahead of the return of Khawaja and Labuschagne.
Young player to watch Xavier Bartlett's strong early season form in BBL11 with bat and ball saw him tipped to become a genuine allrounder. But like the team as a whole, Bartlett's season was derailed when Covid-19 swept through. The 23-year-old is hoping for a consistent run and will be earmarked to play a key role for Heat. Bartlett's a powerful quick who has started this domestic season well although his batting has not recaptured the heights of last year's BBL. Perhaps a change in format will help Bartlett harness his obvious batting potential and if he can become a genuine allrounder then Heat will have one of the brightest youngsters in the competition.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth