Hurricanes snap up Tassie batter after Heat finals cameo

Charlie Wakim returns to the Hurricanes in BBL|14 after surprise finals call up during the Heat's championship-winning run last season

Charlie Wakim – the man who opened for the Brisbane Heat alongside master blaster Josh Brown during his epic 57-ball 140 in last season's Challenger – has secured his first full Big Bash contract to return to the Hobart Hurricanes in KFC BBL|14.

A week after Brown defected to the Melbourne Renegades on a lucrative two-year deal, Wakim will also join a new team next season after signing a one-year deal to play with the Hurricanes. He has also committed to the Tasmanian Tigers for another two seasons.

The 32-year-old last represented the Hurricanes during a preseason T20 competition in Abu Dhabi in 2018 where he made scores of 43 against Lahore Qalandars and 15 against Yorkshire.

He was again part of the Hobart-based club's list in 2020-21 as a local replacement player but didn't play a game, before filling in for the Melbourne Stars as a Covid-replacement the following season when 13 squad members went down with the virus.

The right-hander then linked up with the Heat last season after a strong start to the Marsh One-Day Cup season for Tasmania where he was a surprise selection for the Challenger against Adelaide Strikers after the club lost internationals Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Colin Munro and Sam Billings for the finals.

Wakim celebrates with Matthew Renshaw after taking a catch in last year's Challenger final // Getty

He made seven in an opening stand of eight with Brown before the destructive opener kicked into gear, watching on as Brown brought up the equal second fastest century in men's Big Bash history (off 41 balls) to put the Heat into the decider to face Sydney Sixers.

Wakim was then left out of the BBL|13 champions' team for the final, with Mitch Swepson returning to the XI and claiming two wickets as the Heat downed the Sixers by 54 runs to win their second men's Big Bash title.

The Hurricanes have since moved quickly to ensure they don't miss out on Wakim again – who plays his domestic cricket for Tasmania – after career-best 50-over and Sheffield Shield campaigns for the state last season.

"I always feel proud to represent Tasmania in the longer form of the game, and can't wait to do it in the BBL," Wakim said in a statement.

He finished the 2023-24 summer as the Shield's fifth highest run-scorer with 679 at 32.33, including two centuries, while his 224 Marsh Cup runs (average 44.80) striking at 125.13 was the second-best strike rate of the season behind Jake Fraser-McGurk (242.46) of batters who faced more than 50 balls for the season.

Wakim hammers first Marsh Cup fifty after late call-up

Wakim also smashed a 56-ball 139 in a T20 for his club side Lindisfarne last December.

The top-order batter was recruited to Tasmania from Sydney in 2017 after impressing in Premier Cricket and hit 160 on first-class debut against South Australia in 2019.

Salliann Beams, General Manager of High Performance at Cricket Tasmania said: "Charlie has been rewarded with a BBL contract following his fantastic season for the Tasmanian Tigers and his consistency in the Cricket Tasmania Premier League T20 competition. He will provide the squad with great experience and leadership, embodying what it means to be a Hurricane on and off the field."

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