Brisbane Heat – Predicted XI for Round 1 BBL|13
The Brisbane Heat will be a major Round 1 consideration with their unprecedented first-up triple, but you’d hate to burn a starting pick on an underwhelming option who doesn’t play all three games.
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Thus, we’ve scrutinized their likely Round 1 side, based on recent form, off-season moves and state selections along with last season’s preferred line-up (noting they had a dream run from fifth to the decider in the finals after the exits of Sam Billings, Colin Munro, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Swepson and Matt Renshaw).
Ins: Paul Walter (Eng), Jack Wood (Ipswich)
Outs: James Bazley (Adelaide Strikers), Mark Steketee (Melbourne Stars), Sam Hain (Hobart Hurricanes), Seam Heazlett (Hobart Hurricanes)
Squad (full 18): Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Usman Khawaja, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Spencer Johnson, Will Prestwidge, Josh Brown, Nathan McSweeney, Paul Walter, Colin Munro, Sam Billings, Jack Wildermuth
Test selection is likely to significantly impact Brisbane’s options with Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne definitely going to be in the first Test XI in Perth. It has been confirmed they’ll play game 1 on December 7 and maybe game 2 on December 9, although the Test camp begins in Perth that day, so it’s a big maybe.
Matt Renshaw, Michael Neser, Nathan McSweeney and Jimmy Peirson will all miss the Heat’s first two games on Prime Minister’s XI duty (December 6-9) vs Pakistan in Canberra. Renshaw and Neser are a chance to be called into the Test squad after that.
On the injury front, Spencer Johnson hasn’t returned at any competitive level since a hamstring tweak a few months ago on Australia duty. Xavier Bartlett has now got a few games of bowling under his belt after several months as a batsman-only following a back issue.
Predicted Round 1 XI
We’ll focus on game 1 because that’s all important with Khawaja and Labuschagne confirmed, while Honeyball understands Munro will arrive in time from the Abu Dhabi T10 League to play game 1 too.
With Renshaw, McSweeney and Peirson out of their batting line-up on PM’s XI duty, it seems Josh Brown and Jack Wood – who both performed well in this week’s practice games – are contending for one spot.
Untried English recruit Paul Walter is more a bowler (left-arm pace) than a batsman, but he has produced some excellent lower-order hitting in his homeland for Essex (Vitality Blast) and the Manchester Originals (The Hundred) batting anywhere from 5-8. He also fields in dangerous positions, so takes catches. With Mark Steketee departed and Neser unavailable, he could bowl death overs too. It’s hard to trust English players on their BBL debuts, but Walter could be a Round 1 steal at $105k given what he offers.
With Neser unavailable and Johnson injured, Bartlett and Jack Wildermuth should lead the attack with support from Walter, while Matt Kuhnemann has been preferred in Queensland 50-over cricket to Mitch Swepson this season but both may play due to a shortage of options. All-rounder Will Prestwidge is an option too, or they could turn to a local replacement player like Benji Floros.
Munro, Billings, Walter and Kuhnemann all are the most likely to play all three, with Bartlett a risk of rotation too.
1 U.Khawaja (c)
5 S.Billings (wk)
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