Test turtle heats up for Big Bash race

Brisbane Heat have signed Test opening batsman Matthew Renshaw for BBL|07, as well as impressive young rookie Brendan Doggett

Louis Cameron

31 October 2017, 08:09 AM

Matthew Renshaw could shake his nickname 'The Turtle' once and for all this summer after Brisbane Heat confirmed the Test opener has joined them for the forthcoming KFC Big Bash League season.

The Heat announced Tuesday that Renshaw and fellow Queenslander Brendan Doggett have signed their maiden BBL contracts, with both players in line to make their domestic T20 debuts.

Renshaw, who admittedly earned the 'Turtle' moniker due to his reserved nature around some of his Test teammates after his initial call-up as opposed to his measured approach with the bat, could be available for selection for the back-end of the BBL|07 season after the Magellan Ashes series concludes in early January.

The 21-year-old said he'd originally not planned to chase a BBL contract this summer but couldn't resist the chance to work with former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum. 

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"I’d probably looked at that period of the season and worked out that it was a chance to recharge the batteries and get some preparations in for the back half of the Shield season," Renshaw said.

"But it will be great to be a part of things with the Heat. Going to the games as a fan is a magic experience so I am excited to see what it is like from the players’ area.

"The cricket tragic in me will also be super keen to learn what I can from Brendon McCullum who has been so successful in all formats of the game across his career."

Heat coach Daniel Vettori said he'd taken note of Renshaw's form for Queensland in the recent JLT One-Day Cup, in which the left-hander struck two half-centuries.

And while he's made his name as a gritty opening batsman who takes few risks at the crease, Vettori was confident Renshaw would be able to adapt to the shortest format. 

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"As a Test and first class player primarily, Matt Renshaw probably has his L-plates on when it comes to T20, but we think he has shown he has the skills and mental toughness to adapt his game to the BBL," said Vettori.

"He has scored a few half centuries for the Bulls in the one-day games he has played so far and as a 21-year-old batsman, we think he will evolve his skills the further he goes in his career. 

"We expect Matt will be available for the back half of the BBL and look forward to working with him when he is with us."

Doggett meanwhile adds some firepower to a bowling attack already featuring the likes of Pakistan sensation Shadab Khan, fellow leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and allrounder Ben Cutting.

The 22-year-old right-armer, who was the Heat's community rookie for the past two BBL seasons, last week made his JLT Sheffield Shield debut, becoming the first Indigenous player to represent Queensland since the 1980s.

Debutant Doggett takes four for Bulls

He picked up five wickets in his first red-ball outing with the Bulls, while he also played in four of Queensland's JLT Cup games this season.

"Brendan is an impressive young man who was a pleasure to have around when he was with us," Vettori said.

"From what I saw during the one-day competition, he’s coming along nicely and as a genuine pace bowler, will be a handy addition to the squad."

The Heat have now filled 15 of their available 18 roster spots for BBL|07.

Brisbane Heat BBL|07 squad: Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Brendan Doggett, Jason Floros, Sam Heazlett, Shadab Khan (OS), Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum (OS), James Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Alex Ross, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson.