Heat re-sign Aussie superstar Labuschagne
Brisbane coach Lehmann excited about prospect of Test No.3 becoming all-format player as he eyes back-end of BBL|10
29 October 2020, 08:58 AM AEST
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann is confident he will have access to Australia star Marnus Labuschagne at the back-end of BBL|10.
Labuschagne re-signed for his fifth season with the Heat today, though the 26-year-old has only played 10 matches for the franchise despite exploding onto the international stage in Test and then ODI cricket.
Lehmann believes the next step for the right-hander is T20s, where he impressed briefly in the latter stages of BBL|09 and then in an intra-squad warm-up match on Australia's winter limited-overs tour of England with a spectacular 100 from 51 balls against a star-studded attack.
"Marnus is a great example to any young cricketer about the importance of working smarter as well as working harder in order to improve his skills and get better, and his terrific progress as a T20 player vindicates that," the Heat coach said.
"He loves to tap into the experiences of his teammates and based on what we saw of him in last season's BBL, T20 is the logical next format for him to spread his wings and succeed.
"We broadly know his commitments with the Australian team this summer but we’re confident there will be a window for him to play a number of games for us at the back end of the tournament."
Labuschagne said he benefited from time on the training paddock and in the middle with South Africa legend AB de Villiers at the Heat last summer, adding he was hopeful of joining the Heat at the back-end of BBL|10 following his national commitments across December and much of January.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I love a challenge, improving and being in the game all the time," said the world's No.3 ranked Test batsman, who offers plenty as an all-round T20 package with his leg-spin bowling and his superb fielding.
"That's especially the case with playing in the BBL. T20 is a challenging format and I want to continue to get better when I get the chance.
"Having had the chance to bat with AB de Villiers and play with and against a number of brilliant players was a wonderful learning opportunity last season.
"I'm excited to turn those experiences into performances when I get on the field to play and help the Heat win as many games as possible.
"Hopefully there's a chance to play a number of BBL games this summer."
The Heat's stocks were bolstered this week when Afghan spin whiz Mujeeb Ur Rahman joined England limited-overs dasher Tom Banton as the club's international recruits, though they did miss out on the signature of de Villiers, who has opted out of the tournament given the impending arrival of a third child.
The absence of the Proteas great leaves the door ajar for a possible third international signing for the Heat under the competition's new rules, whereby they could access funds from Cricket Australia to finance a deal.
Lehmann confirmed that the club is indeed pursuing that path, adding they were "pleased with the positive response so far from the individuals we have sounded out".
The Heat still have work to do on the recruitment front but have added former Melbourne Renegades pair Tom Cooper and Jack Wildermuth to their books for BBL|10, while Matt Renshaw (Adelaide Strikers) and James Pattinson (Renegades) have exited the club.
Veteran left-armer Josh Lalor and young fast-bowling allrounder Jack Prestwidge are also understood to have signed with the Renegades.
Brisbane Heat roster BBL|10 (so far): Tom Banton (Eng), Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper (new), Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Laughlin, Chris Lynn, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afg), Jack Wildermuth (new).