Brisbane Heat BBL preview: New-look squad needs to find consistency

Plans have been hit by Mujeeb's positive Covid test and Tom Banton's withdrawal from the tournament

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Chris Lynn kept up his good run, hitting 88 not out in 55 balls  •  Getty Images

Chris Lynn kept up his good run, hitting 88 not out in 55 balls  •  Getty Images

Captain Chris Lynn
Coach Darren Lehmann
Squad Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory (Eng), Sam Heazlett, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Laughlin, Dan Lawrence (Eng), Chris Lynn, Simon Milenko, Morne Morkel, Jimmy Peirson, Lachlan Pfeffer, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afg), Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Jack Wildermuth, Matthew Willans, Jack Wood
In Xavier Bartlett, Tom Cooper (Renegades), Lewis Gregory, Dan Lawerence, Morne Morkel, Jack Wildermuth (Renegades), Matthew Willans
Out Tom Banton, Ben Cutting (Thunder), Josh Lalor (Renegades), Matt Renshaw (Strikers), James Pattinson (Renegades), Jack Prestwidge (Renegades), AB de Villiers
Overseas player availability Lewis Gregory (quarantine until Dec 25), Dan Lawrence (first five games), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (all tournament pending Afghanistan ODI selection)
Last season: 7th
The Heat were anything but hot last year despite the presence of AB de Villiers for the last six games of the season. They failed to live up to the hype and missed the finals, losing four of the six games de Villiers played including the final game against the struggling Melbourne Renegades, when a win would have vaulted them into fourth spot and a home Eliminator. They had trouble with the balance of their side while their desire to bat at breakneck speed in every game caused consistent collapses.
Bubble impact
Tom Banton has withdrawn from his deal citing the demands of ongoing bubbles. England team-mate Lewis Gregory will serve 14 days quarantine after arriving from South Africa which will keep him out until late December, but Dan Lawrence was a shrewd signing by the Heat as cover for that duo. Mujeeb Ur Rahman returns for the Heat but tested positive for Covid-19 late last week so it remains uncertain when he will become available while Afghanistan's ODI series with Ireland in January could affect his availability later in the tournament. Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, and Mitchell Swepson will all be unavailable for large periods due to Test duty.
Player to watch
Chris Lynn is always a player to watch but this year he is especially important. The Heat have a very inexperienced batting line-up and Lynn hasn't played a lot of top-level cricket of late. He had a very lean CPL and then carried the drinks for Mumbai Indians throughout the entire IPL. He has made three rapid-fire centuries in club cricket over the last two weekends but he will need consistent runs if the Heat are to win the title.
Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Among all the teams last season, Brisbane Heat suffered the most against spin. They lost 44 wickets, averaging just 20.78, and 39 percent of the balls they faced were dots.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne