Cooper leaves the Renegades after eight seasons
A title-winner with the Melbourne Renegades, BBL veteran joins Brisbane Heat on a two-year deal
14 September 2020, 03:12 PM AEST
The Melbourne Renegades' all-time games record holder, Tom Cooper, is heading north after signing a two-year deal with the Brisbane Heat ahead of BBL|10.
Cooper, who is second only to Aaron Finch among the leading Renegades run-scorers, is leaving after 71 matches and eight seasons with the club to join the Heat after a rough BBL|09.
The Renegades have limited salary-cap space and are also expected to shed Dan Christian ahead of next season, with cricket.com.au recently reporting the allrounder is likely to join the Sydney Sixers.
Cooper's inclusion comes after the departure of Matt Renshaw from the Heat, who last week signed a deal to join the Strikers, while James Pattinson and Ben Cutting (who remains under contract at the Heat) have been linked with moves elsewhere.
But Tom Banton, the young English batsman who starred last season, is back on board for another season, as is Chris Lynn. It's also believed the club has had discussions with AB de Villiers for a possible return.
A handy off-spinner as a well as a powerful batter, Cooper has occasionally been used as a Power Play bowler and Heat coach Darren Lehmann said the club are looking forward to adding a player with his versatility.
"He's a really good game manager, especially batting, and has the ability to either get his team away to a flyer at the top in the Power Plays or be innovative in the middle overs and close out an innings," said Lehmann.
"He’s a handy bowling option too and always brings a lot of calmness and insight when he is in the field.
"I know from past encounters that he enjoys playing at the Gabba, and his family are always keen to catch up with him when he is here, so we think he will enjoy the chance to make a fresh start with the Heat.
Cooper was integral in the Renegades' BBL|08 title run, hitting 324 runs mainly from the lower-middle order, but managed just 89 runs at 11 from nine games last summer as the club finished bottom of the table.
That was despite thriving for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield (765 runs at 55, the second largest tally of the season) and Marsh Cup (238 runs at 59), and at one stage was being floated as a potential smokey for the Australian T20 side.
The 33-year-old has played 41 times for the Netherlands, including three World Cups, but still harbours hopes of playing for his native country as a T20 finisher.
"It's still a dream to play for Australia, it has been since I was a little kid," Cooper told cricket.com.au in November.
"I've played the majority of my T20 career in that middle-order position, so at times it has been frustrating to see the highest run scorers get picked, and they're generally from the top of the order."
Brisbane Heat BBL|10 squad (so far): Tom Banton (Eng), Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Ben Cutting, Matthew Kuhnemann, Ben Laughlin, Chris Lynn, Jimmy Peirson, Mitchell Swepson