Fresh Jess looks for new way to ignite Heat
Stepping into the big shoes of Kirby Short, Australia spinner vows a new approach for the two-time WBBL champions
30 July 2020, 07:30 PM AEST
Jess Jonassen is backing a revamped Brisbane Heat line-up to find "a different way" to succeed this Rebel WBBL season, as she takes the captaincy reins of the two-time defending champions.
Jonassen was unveiled as the Heat’s new skipper on Thursday after signing a fresh three-year deal with the club, but currently is one of just two publicly announced members of their WBBL|06 squad alongside Australia teammate Delissa Kimmince.
The 27-year-old steps into the big shoes left by retired leader Kirby Short – a role Jonassen has also taken on with Queensland in the one-day domestic competition – and the 2020-21 season will be her first as captain of any side.
"I’ve had to put a lot of work into myself personally over the last few years in particular, I’ve come back from some pretty dark places and I’d like to think that’s given me a better perspective on the game and on life in general," Jonassen said in Brisbane on Thursday.
"I like to try and ensure the players are happy around you, and that you’re happy within yourself too."
Jonassen has been part of the Queensland set-up for 13 years, and the Australian team for eight – a period in which she has endured her share of ups and downs.
The left-arm spinner has previously revealed her mental health battles from late 2018, when an untimely injury scuppered her chances of breaking into Australia’s XI during the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean.
"Over the course of my career I’ve had a few injuries and missed a few crucial games – one of the more recent ones was being over in the West Indies for the World Cup," she said.
"Not being able to make the final XI over there was a situation I’d never found myself in and there was just a lot of self-discovery through that time, trying to find different ways to contribute to the team’s success.
"From a personal point of view, that was one of the best things that has ever happened to me, because it opened my eyes to new challenges and new ways to contribute to team success other than on the field."
Short’s leadership was been widely credited for the Heat’s on-field success across the last two seasons and Jonassen revealed she had already hit up her former skipper for advice.
"Nothing ever seemed to faze (Kirby) on the outside – she always used to say she was a bit of a duck on water, she was all calm on the outer and under the surface she was going around like crazy," Jonassen explained.
"That’s something I’d like to take away from her … that element of calmness regardless of the situation.
"That’s something I’ve had a few conversations with her about already … it gives the players around you that bit more confidence and helps keep them be calm as well."
Jonassen and the Heat already have one challenge on their hands when it comes to securing a third consecutive title – finding a way to cover the departure of their all-time leading run scorer Beth Mooney to the Perth Scorchers.
The left-handed opener will not be the only change to Brisbane’s line-up; former captain Short has retired, while allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson is rumoured to be heading elsewhere after moving to Sydney during the off-season to take up a state contract with New South Wales.
However, Jonassen is confident the squad Brisbane puts together will quickly adapt.
"Mooney is a prolific run scorer and a great tactical player as well, she’ll be missed like any senior player would be, but it opens some amazing opportunities for other girls in the squad," Jonassen said.
"It will expose them to some different situations and put pressure on them a little bit more, which is exciting.
"Playing without Moons doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t win games of cricket, because we will, we might just win slightly differently.
"I’m looking forward to seeing (other players) come to the forefront and we’ll have an exciting list."