Burns leaves Brisbane for new Big Bash beginning

Brisbane Heat stalwart Joe Burns moves south to join the Melbourne Stars on a three-year deal that ties him to the club until BBL|13

The Melbourne Stars have recruited ex-Test batsman Joe Burns to bolster their batting for their KFC BBL|11 title tilt.

Burns, who has a T20 average of 24.54 and strike-rate of 121.12, has spent a decade with the Brisbane Heat and leaves his hometown club after 59 appearances in teal.

Burns has signed a three-year deal with the Stars, and the long-term security is understood have been an important factor for the 31-year-old, and more than the Heat were willing to offer.

"It was obviously a difficult decision leaving the Heat after being there for so long, however I am ready for a new challenge at the Stars," Burns said in a statement.

"The Melbourne Stars have been a very strong team over the years and I'm excited to join the team and I can't wait to get stuck into training with my new teammates."

Burns is coming off a tough summer in 2020-21 which saw him lose his Test spot, and while he did bounce back in February with a mammoth 171 against Tasmania in the Marsh Sheffield Shield, he ended the first-class season with an average of 22.64 – the lowest of his 11-year career.

Yet his performances in the Big Bash were something of a bright spot, as he enjoyed his finest returns in three summers to help the Heat to a long-awaited finals berth.

Burns torches Thunder with match-winning knock

In a middle order role, he passed fifty once, but also showed he can be a useful finisher in the format, blasting 22 not out off 11 balls against the Stars in a rain-affected match on the Gold Coast, and a week later torching the Renegades for 31 not out from 15 balls to secure a win in Canberra.

Burns' arrival, announced to coincide with the Stars putting their BBL|11 memberships on sale, adds a batsman with considerable international experience to shore up their middle order, or give them another option at the top alongside Marcus Stoinis.

The Stars last summer saw Ben Dunk retire and are expected to bid farewell to Nic Maddinson who has been strongly linked with a move to the Melbourne Renegades.

Like Burns, the Stars are also coming off a disappointing summer, having finished above only the Renegades in BBL|10 with just five wins from their 14 games after being beaten finalists the two previous years.

The Stars have also been linked with Beau Webster, who has been one of the Renegades' top performers in a difficult past two years since their BBL|08 title win, while they are also understood to have held discussions with Sam Whiteman, who is seeking to move on from the Perth Scorchers.

With just 15 spots available to domestic players this summer if clubs take up the option of three available internationals, there is a squeeze on for players.

Burns becomes the second high-profile move in the BBL since the contracting embargo was lifted last month, after the Perth Scorchers swooped for leg-spinner Peter Hatzoglou.

Hatzoglou was the breakout star of BBL|10 but the Renegades, already committed to a number of multi-year deals for younger talent, opted not to offer new contracts to him or Webster.

For the Heat, Burns' exit leaves them with seven domestic players off contract from last summer, including batters Max Bryant and Marnus Labuschagne, and seam-bowling allrounder Jack Wildermuth.

It has been an off-season of change for the Heat with Wade Seccombe taking over the head coaching duties from Darren Lehmann, who remains as an assistant coach and is understood to be working hard to secure international recruits while at The Hundred in the UK.

Chris Lynn has also stepped down as captain and while no new leader has been appointed, it's widely expected Jimmy Peirson will take that role.

Seccombe thanked Burns for his service over the years from BBL|01: "Joe was a foundation player with the Heat and after a decade with the club, we were sorry to see him move on. He's been a strong contributor on and off the field for the Heat, and a firm favourite with the fans at the Gabba, so we wish him all the best for his future."

Melbourne Stars BBL|11 squad (so far): Joe Burns, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Tom O'Connell, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.

Brisbane Heat BBL|11 squad (so far): Tom Banton (ENG), Xavier Bartlett, Tom Cooper, Sam Heazlett, Chris Lynn, Jimmy Peirson, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Willans.