Heat captaincy looms for McCullum

Brisbane Heat to be one of chief beneficiaries of Brendon McCullum's international retirement

New Zealand cricket's loss will be the Brisbane Heat's gain next season, with Brendon McCullum's impending retirement freeing him up to return to the KFC Big Bash League.

And Heat coach Daniel Vettori, McCullum's long-time New Zealand teammate, has given a strong indication the current Black Caps skipper will take over as captain of the Heat for BBL|06.

McCullum, who will retire from international cricket in February, signed a three-year deal with the Heat earlier this year but his international commitments means he's unable to play in BBL|05.

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But the Heat are one of several T20 franchises around the world that are set to benefit from McCullum's international departure.

Speaking on Tuesday, Vettori hinted that McCullum would take over the Heat captaincy from current skipper Chris Lynn next summer.

"We've captained each other, we've played in the same team for a long time and now we get to go into a coach-player, coach-captain role," Vettori said.

"I think the fact that Brendon has exited on his own terms means he'll be really excited about the future and the upcoming tournaments that he has.

"He knows the lay of the land in Brisbane having played here and he's really excited about joining the side."

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In addition to the Heat, McCullum is contracted to play with new Indian Premier League franchise Rajkot and said on Tuesday there were "potentially some other opportunities" to play T20 cricket around the world.

McCullum played three matches for the Heat in 2011-12 // Getty

At the age of 34, McCullum could well play for several years to come and Vettori expects him to arrive next year with plenty of cricket under his belt.

"I think like most retired cricketers there's still a lot of cricket going on for them," Vettori said.

"I think Brendon will play an important part in the IPL and there's other competitions throughout the year that he can now get involved with.

"I don't think he's going to be coming to the Brisbane Heat underdone so we're going to have a fresh, excited cricketer.

"I spoke to him recently and I know how much he's going to enjoy playing for the Brisbane Heat.

"Once we'll get him here we'll work out his role and what he means to the team. But I know all the guys are pretty excited that he'll be around for the next couple of years."

Quick Single: From brash to beloved; McCullum's journey

While the current BBL season has only just begun, McCullum's return is already looming as a welcome relief for the Heat, who have lost eight of their past 10 BBL matches stretching back last season.

The BBL|02 champions suffered their second loss from as many matches on Tuesday, their defeat to the Hurricanes coming after they went down to the Renegades on Saturday night.

They now face a tricky Boxing Day clash against the defending champion Scorchers in Perth, with a loss there putting them in the box seat to miss the finals for the third season in a row.