Renegades recruit Brown to replace retired veterans

Brisbane Heat finals hero Josh Brown will front up for the Melbourne Renegades for the next two Big Bash seasons

Every six: Blazing Brown goes long to lead Heat to glory

Josh Brown will get first crack at filling the void left by retired Big Bash greats Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh after signing on with Melbourne Renegades for next season.

As reported by cricket.com.au last month, the Renegades have today unveiled Brown as their star recruit for KFC BBL|14 on a two-year deal.

The big-hitting opener was one of the most in demand free agents this off-season after he was unable to secure one of Brisbane Heat's 10 domestic list spot prior to the contracting embargo period.

The embargo period began with the first ball of the BBL|13 Final, just two days after Brown single-handedly put the Heat into the decider with a club record 57-ball 140 to knock out Adelaide Strikers in the Challenger.

Brown slams BBL's second fastest ton

The right-hander backed it up in the final with 53 from 38 balls as the Heat secured their second men's Big Bash title.

But the 30-year-old bat maker from Brisbane's northern suburbs was in and out of the champions' side throughout the season, watching from the sidelines for the two games Australia duo Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne were available for the Heat.

Brown's finals exploits saw him finish as the club's leading run-scorer in BBL|13 with 366 from his nine games with a strike rate above 150.

He set a league record for the most sixes in an individual innings with 12 in his century against the Strikers on the Gold Coast and his 23 sixes across the BBL|13 campaign ranked him second for the tournament behind Matt Short (25).

While the Heat were keen to keep Brown next season, his run of form came too late for him to seal one of the club's 10 local list spots (the maximum domestic contracts permitted prior to the embargo), with breakout fast bowler Xavier Bartlett, star allrounder Michael Neser and wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson the last players signed before the final.

Multiple clubs were believed to be interested in Brown's services for the upcoming season, but the Renegades quickly emerged as the strongest contender as they had cash to spend following the retirements of star veterans Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh.

The Queenslander toured the Renegades' Junction Oval training facility last month with the club's general manager James Rosengarten with the deal quickly made official once the league's free agency contracting embargo lifted on Tuesday.

Brown is the first player to join a new club during the off-season.

"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," Brown 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."

Brown – a six hitting machine – burst on the scene with two centuries (147 off 68 balls and 159 off 59) in the space of a week in the inaugural season of Queensland Premier Cricket's T20 Max competition in 2022.

Those two knocks yielded 27 sixes alone and he was signed by the Heat as a local replacement player as cover for Khawaja and Labuschagne ahead of BBL|12, blasting 62 from 23 balls and clearing the rope six times against Sydney Sixers in just his second game on New Year's Day last year.

Heat second-gamer Brown dispatches Sixers to all parts

He then secured his maiden BBL contract last August with a one-year deal to return the Heat for BBL|13.

Brown has already hit 43 sixes in his Big Bash career in just 23 games, ranking him third behind superstar West Indian duo Andre Russell and Chris Gayle for the fewest balls faced per six hit in the BBL. 

He's also hit 53 fours from his 417 balls faced in the Big Bash, with 75 per cent of his 624 career BBL runs coming from boundaries – the highest rate in the history of the competition of players to score more than 500 runs.

Brown told cricket.com.au in January after his record century against the Strikers that the secret to his explosiveness was a stable base.

"You've got to be still to hit the ball nicely so that's probably my big secret," he said.

"All I think about when the bowler is running in is watch and react … just hit the ball where it's meant to go."