Heat lock in Proteas star, key quick for WBBL|10

Brisbane Heat have locked in two more pieces of the puzzle for WBBL|10, signing Proteas allrounder Nadine de Klerk alongside quick Nicola Hancock

Nadine de Klerk will return to the Weber WBBL this summer after penning a two-year deal with the Brisbane Heat.

The Heat are the second WBBL club to confirm an international signing ahead of the overseas player draft, following Sydney Sixers' shock signing of New Zealand star Amelia Kerr, who had been a Heat mainstay for five seasons.

The club has also locked in key quick Nicola Hancock for another two seasons, ensuring she will be in teal until at least the end of WBBL|11. 

Brisbane Heat WBBL|10 squad (so far): Nadine de Klerk (South Africa), Nicola Hancock, Grace Harris, Laura Harris, Ellie Johnston, Jess Jonassen, Charli Knott, Georgia Redmayne

With Kerr turning down an offer from the Heat in favour of Sydney, last season's runners-up have instead looked to South African de Klerk, a pace-bowling allrounder who was part of the Brisbane's campaigns in WBBL|06 and |07.

She played 18 matches across those two seasons, taking seven wickets and scoring 148 runs, but she will return to the WBBL a more experienced and accomplished player, following a breakout year on the international stage in 2023 that saw de Klerk go from fringe player to South Africa mainstay.

She was the only Proteas player to make the ICC's 2023 ODI Team of the Year, rewarded for a standout all-round 12 months that saw her take 16 wickets in nine one-dayers at 16.68 and score 181 runs at 45.

The 24-year-old's potential was always evident, particularly in the shortest format, and moments of brilliance – including her 3-19 in the 2020 T20 World Cup semi-final against Australia at the SCG – were enough for her to earn her first shot with the Heat later the same year.

But greater consistency has helped de Klerk become a matchwinner in Proteas a team going through a period of change after a series of high-profile retirements.

She, alongside Hancock, will bolster a Heat pace attack that looked light on at times in WBBL|09, and could prove particularly important given quicks Courtney Sippel and Lucy Hamilton are currently off contract.

De Klerk will also be a handy addition to Brisbane's middle-order, which was stacked last season but in WBBL|10 will be without Kerr and South Africa's Mignon du Preez, who announced this week she is pregnant with twins. 

"We really enjoyed her commitment to the cause when she was with us in the past, and it has been great to see her blossom into a regular performer for South Africa," Heat captain Jess Jonassen said.

"She's a triple threat as a player – her bowling is getting better and better and we will look forward to using her skills especially in the Powerplay and Power Surge overs.

"She has developed nicely into a batting finisher, and she is excellent in the field."

Unlike in previous seasons where overseas signings were contracted on a one-year basis, de Klerk was signed under the league's new multi-year contract provision.

The introduction of the multi-year provision enables each club to sign one overseas player for up to three years outside of the WBBL draft, securing high-profile talent for clubs on a longer-term basis.

All remaining overseas players must be secured by clubs via either the draft, or alternatively may be signed as a replacement player in place of a full-time squad member.

The draft will be held in September, with the date expected to be confirmed shortly.

The Heat have secured picks seven, 15, 18 and 31 after the results of a lottery to determine the order were announced earlier this month.

De Klerk's addition and Hancock's contract extension come after the Heat re-signed Aussie T20 star Grace Harris for another two seasons.

They'll have a new head coach this season with former Australian women's coach Mark Sorell, who has been an assistant with the Fire and Heat for the past five years, replacing Ashley Noffke who is moving to southern New Zealand to coach Otago's men's side.