Heat lock in new captain for WBBL title defence
Australia star Jess Jonassen signs on for three more seasons as she prepares to lead Brisbane's three-peat bid
30 July 2020, 07:30 AM AEST
Jess Jonassen has been handed the task of leading the Brisbane Heat in their bid for a Rebel WBBL three-peat, after the star allrounder penned a new three-year deal with the club.
Jonassen steps into the big shoes of retired captain Kirby Short, who announced she was hanging up the boots after guiding the Heat to back-to-back titles last summer.
The left-arm spinner’s re-signing is welcome news for the Brisbane club, coming hot on the heels of the news star batter Beth Mooney had sought a new home with the Perth Scorchers.
Jonassen’s ascendency to the captaincy comes after she was also named as Short’s replacement for Queensland in the 50-over domestic Women’s National Cricket League.
The 26-year-old has been a core member of the Heat squad since the inaugural season of the WBBL, with the leadership position a chance to add another string to her bow after enjoying her best Big Bash yet with both the bat and the ball in WBBL|05, hitting 419 runs and collecting 21 wickets.
Jonassen was a key part of Australia’s triumphant T20 World Cup campaign on home soil earlier this year and currently sits fifth in the ICC’s T20 bowling rankings.
Securing her services for another season is a significant step for the club, who entered the WBBL|06 contracting period with just one player on their books – Jonassen’s national teammate Delissa Kimmince.
Jonassen, who described her new role as a "privilege", is under no illusions the battle for a third consecutive title will be an easy one.
"We know we will be tested on a number of fronts this summer, but I firmly believe we should embrace those challenges and be ready to perform to the best of our ability, individually and as a squad," she said.
"We have seen the WBBL perform an increasingly valuable role in growing the game with women and girls and inspiring them to support and participate in cricket, especially when you see how big the World Cup was for the game in this country.
"As a Heat player, the memories of the support we received at home and away in the past two championship seasons from our fans, and our friends and families, still gives me goosebumps and it is a greatest incentive we have to produce our best again this season.
"With Kirby stepping down after playing such an influential role with the club, it’s a privilege to take on the job as skipper, and I’m excited to be part of what we are building here."
With contracting open until September 25, a flurry of signing news is expected from Brisbane – however, they can expect to be fighting off rival clubs for some of their strongest local talent, including pace-bowling allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson, who moved to New South Wales during the off-season, and the explosive Grace Harris.
The departure of Mooney has left them in the market for a wicketkeeper and strong top-order bat, while all three of their overseas player slots are currently waiting to be filled.
Last year they fielded two New Zealanders in leg-spinner Amelia Kerr and batter Maddy Green, with the former, in particular, likely to be in hot demand.
Heat coach Ashley Noffke said the club was making solid progress in assembling its squad.
"JJ has been a senior player in the group for some time and we know the special qualities she can bring to the group," he said of Jonassen.
"Her international experience is a bonus for us in terms of how we will look to operate within the squad.
"The leadership is a great chance for her to take her game to another level again after really impressing with her consistency in the past two seasons, which is why we believe she is such an important signing."
Brisbane Heat WBBL|06 squad (so far): Jess Jonassen (Aus), Delissa Kimmince (Aus)