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Josh Brown joins Melbourne Renegades in BBL coup

Brisbane Heat finals hero leaves to join Renegades on a two-year deal and looks set to open alongside Jake Fraser-McGurk

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Josh Brown brought up his century off just 41 balls, Adelaide Strikers vs Brisbane Heat, BBL Challenger, Carrara, January 22, 2024

Josh Brown made 140 off 71 balls last season  •  Getty Images

Melbourne Renegades have poached BBL-winning batter Josh Brown away from Brisbane Heat on a two-year deal as a replacement for the retired Aaron Finch.
Brown, 30, burst onto the scene in the last two seasons as a mature-age find for Heat after dominating Brisbane grade cricket and had a huge impact for Heat helping them reach two finals and claim the title last season. It's understood the initial two-year deal comes with the option of two more.
In his first 23 matches in the BBL, Brown has made 624 runs at 27.13, striking at 149.64. He rose to national fame in the BBL finals last season smashing 140 from 71 balls, including a BBL record 12 sixes, against Adelaide Strikers in the Challenger to help Heat reach the final before backing that up with a matchwinning 53 in the final against Sydney Sixers.
His form led to overseas T20 franchises chasing his services and he took up an offer to play in the Bangladesh Premier League with Chattogram Challengers. He also made his List A debut for Queensland when he returned from Bangladesh.
Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said the struggling Melbourne franchise was thrilled to secure Brown as part of a new-look squad next season.
"We are extremely excited to have Josh join our squad," Rosengarten said. "We've identified a clear role for Josh in our batting order which will have a new look this year.
"Josh possesses a good balance of aggression and composure, which we all witnessed in the recent BBL finals series. We've been watching Josh for a while so his strong season and BBL finals series were no surprise."
Brisbane Heat admitted they were disappointed to lose Brown having offered what they believed was a strong offer.
"We provided Josh and his management with a two-year contract offer that was very lucrative and a significant uplift," Joe Dawes, the new Queensland Cricket general manager, said. "However, we understand the lure of a four-year commitment for him as a player, even though we believed our offer was very competitive and more than fair.
"Our fans will justifiably be disappointed that he won't be with us going forward, and as a club, we are sad to lose Josh, no doubt."
Brown looks set to form a formidable opening partnership with Jake Fraser-McGurk. He was grateful to Heat for giving him the chance to play in the BBL.
"I've enjoyed my time with the Heat, they gave me my opportunity, for which I'll always be grateful and have cherished memories including winning a BBL Championship last season," he said. "But I am extremely excited for a new challenge and hopefully achieve the same success with the Renegades.
"It's a young group with a lot of talent and firepower, especially in that batting group. I can't wait to partner with the likes of Jake Fraser-McGurk and Will Sutherland and see what we can do."

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo