Ross makes sweeping change for BBL|06
Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year to swap Adelaide Strikers for Brisbane Heat next season
11 February 2016, 08:33 AM AEST
Brisbane Heat have pulled off a batting coup ahead of the next KFC Big Bash League season, luring Alex Ross from the Adelaide Strikers.
The Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year, Ross impressed for the Strikers in BBL|05 and also showed his quality for the West End Redbacks in the Matador BBQs One-Cay Cup in October.
Ross honoured on AB Medal night
Christened 'The Sweepologist' by Network Ten commentator and cricket.com.au's Stumps host Damien Fleming, the 23-year-old will add some much-needed starch to the Heat's middle order.
Raised in New Zealand, Ross will link with the Heat's Kiwi coach Daniel Vettori, who knows Ross from his early days across the Tasman.
"Alex was just a young bloke when I first encountered him back home," Vettori said.
"His Dad Ashley was New Zealand’s assistant coach at the time and Alex was a youngster who loved his cricket and being around the game.
"He has become a very impressive young player for South Australia and Adelaide and we believe he can enhance his game further with the Heat and look to play at the highest level."
Ross will boost a batting line-up that, Chris Lynn aside, had few standout performers in BBL|05.
While the Heat passed 170 in five out of their eight matches - boosted by Lynn's tournament high of 378 runs - the skipper was the only Heat batsman to finish in the top 20 run-scorers for the competition (Lendl Simmons was next best in 22nd place with 177 runs from eight matches).
Of the seven scores of 50 or more posted by Heat batsmen, Lynn was responsible for four of them.
WATCH: Ross sweeps away the Stars in Adelaide
The signing of Ross is another big inclusion for the Heat, with soon to be retired New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum also set to bolster their batting next season.
Ross started BBL|05 in fine style, hammering 65 from 31 balls in Adelaide's season-opener against Melbourne Stars and following up with 38 from 29 balls against the Scorchers in Perth.
His love of the sweep shot, which he credits to his background as a hockey player, has made him a much-loved player among the Strikers faithful, while his stunning catch outfield catch against the Sixers of New Year's Eve also created headlines.
"It was always going to be a hard decision,’’ he said.
"The crowd and fans are so good in Adelaide, but coming to the Heat was an opportunity I couldn’t resist and I’m extremely excited to be coming to Brisbane.
"I love playing at the Gabba and am really looking forward to working with the Kiwis and the likes of ‘Lynny’ (Chris Lynn) and ‘Reardo’ (Nathan Reardon)."
WATCH: 'You will not see a better outfield catch than that'
Ross was one of the leading players in SA's unexpected run to the Matador Cup final late last year, including an unbeaten 97 in the elimination final against Victoria and a match-winning 88 not out against Queensland.
He will remain with the Redbacks for one-day and first-class cricket.
"It’s unfortunate news for us and Strikers fans because Alex has enjoyed an exciting BBL with the Strikers last season," SACA high performance general manager Tim Nielsen told The Advertiser.
"We did our best to retain his services for the Strikers, but in this instance he’s decided to take on a new challenge with a different franchise."
Ross enjoyed a breakout 2015 for the Redbacks, finally making his first-class debut after three years in the system.
Speaking to cricket.com.au after he was named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year at Allan Border Medal night last month, Ross praised new SA coach Jamie Siddons for his influence.
WATCH: Ross the match-winner for the Redbacks
"It was tough the first couple of years finding your feet," he said.
"This is my fourth year in the system now and I'm probably starting to find my way a bit.
"The coach has been really good with that and has just let me play so he's really helped."