Heat chase third international after Banton pulls out
Englishman pulls out for the second season in a row due to concerns around international travel and quarantine
18 September 2021, 09:15 AM AEST
The Brisbane Heat will again be without Englishman Tom Banton this season after the dynamic opener pulled out due to concerns over quarantine and biosecurity measures in Australia.
Banton missed last summer's tournament because of similar issues related to his mental health and with quarantine still in place in Australia due to the pandemic, he's informed the club that he won't return for BBL|11.
The opener played seven games in BBL|09 and slammed 223 runs at a strike rate of 177 before signing a new two-year deal to return the following season.
"It was a difficult decision but one that I know was the right one for me given the situation," Banton said in a statement today.
"I'd like to thank the club for their understanding and the Heat fans, who made it such a memorable experience when I was there last time.
"I have very good memories of my time with the Heat and the way I was looked after there. I wish the lads all the best for the coming season and will be cheering them on.
The Heat recently signed English left-hander Ben Duckett, who could essentially fill the gap left by Banton, while they've also confirmed a return for Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
The withdrawal of Banton means the Heat have one international spot remaining on their roster for this season.
"We had some good conversations with Tom during The Hundred about his intentions and certainly gave him the time and space to make his decision," Heat coach Wade Seccombe said.
"In the end, he was honest and upfront with his decision-making and told us how disappointed he was not to be coming out, but we understand and accept his decision.
"We support Tom as we do all of our players. I'm sure that our fans and supporters will join us in wishing him the best in the future with his cricket.
"We have some contingencies to explore in terms of completing our squad and we are working on that now."
Having finished third last season, the Heat have kept largely the same squad together for BBL|11, with a handful of notable changes.
Joe Burns has joined the Melbourne Stars while Michael Neser returns to the Heat after nine seasons in Adelaide with the Strikers.
The biggest change at the Heat surrounds the leadership of the side. Chris Lynn is stood down as captain and looks likely to be replaced by Jimmy Peirson, while Darren Lehmann has stepped back into an assistant coaching role, allowing Wade Seccombe to move into the main job.
Brisbane Heat BBL|11 squad (so far): Xavier Bartlett, Tom Cooper, Ben Duckett (ENG), Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Chris Lynn, Jimmy Peirson, Michael Neser, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (AFG), Matthew Willans