Heat complete First XI recruits
Wednesday July 18, 2012
The Brisbane Heat have re-signed allrounder and captain James Hopes and wicket-keeper Chris Hartley to add further skill and steel to their squad for the 2012-13 KFC T20 Big Bash League.
Hopes, the inaugural captain of the Brisbane Heat in BBL|01, and Hartley make up an impressive first eleven recruits announced so far.
The home grown duo join Dan Vettori, Alister McDermott, Nathan Hauritz, Dan Christian, Ryan Harris, Ben Cutting, Luke Pomersbach, Chris Lynn and Joe Burns as Brisbane recruits for BBL|02.
Hopes has accepted a two-year deal while Hartley has signed on for one year.
A nagging knee injury saw Hopes confined to just the opening game of the series against the Sydney Sixers last season.
The allrounder attempted returns on four occasions during the BBL but ultimately missed the bulk of the competition, with his consolation coming a few months later when a fully-fit Hopes led the Queensland Bulls to victory in the Bupa Sheffield Shield Final at the Gabba.
Heat coach Darren Lehmann confirmed today that Hopes, 33, would again lead the team for BBL|02.
“Hopesy has impressed a lot of very good judges around the world in a relatively short period of time with the way he leads teams and we are very pleased to confirm he will captain the Heat again this season,” he said.
“He’s a thinker, a planner and someone who leads by example on and off the field. His courage and determination when he is in the middle are admirable qualities and we will be counting on his leadership to take the group where we want to go,” Lehmann said.
“When you throw in his batting and bowling skills, then you have a very important part of our overall playing depth. He’s played nearly 100 ODIs and T20 Internationals and his experience is paramount for the team,” Lehmann said.
Hopes, who has also led the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, has played 61 T20 matches in his career, scoring 1169 runs at a strike-rate of 129.02 and taking 44 wickets at an economy rate of 8.43.
Hartley, 30, played five games for the Heat last season, snapping up two catches and a stumping, with his rock solid work with the gloves delivering high levels of reassurance for Brisbane.
Rated one of the premier gloveman in the country, Hartley finished the season in style with match-defining performances in the Shield Final where his often under-rated batting skills tipped the balance in Queensland’s favour.
Hopes said he was delighted to be with the Heat again, and cited unfinished business from last season’s injury-wracked series as a high motivating factor.
“I don’t think there was much chance of me going anywhere else,” he said. “It was very frustrating not to be involved. I’m not a good watcher.”
Hopes admitted his long absence made him hungry for the second instalment of BBL | 02.
“More so because I think we have a better team than what we showed in the first year,” he said.
“We showed we were very competitive towards the end but we may have underperformed a little bit. I won’t be the only hungry bloke coming back that’s for sure.”
Hartley said being involved with the Heat had been a bonus last season where he shared time with the gloves with New Zealand international Brendon McCullum.
“It (the BBL) was such a huge success last year and I’ve got no doubt BBL | 02 will be too,” he said.
“To be able sign with the Brisbane Heat, the team that I played with last year and the city that I’ve grown up in, I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Lehmann said Hartley continued to demonstrate why he is such a valuable squad member.
“Harts does all of those things you want to see in an athlete. He is a self-starter, he drives himself and he does the extras,” he said.
“And the way he conducts himself rubs off on others too. He’s a massively positive influence on our playing group.”
“His ‘keeping skills give us plenty of stability too. Unlike in a first class game or a one-dayer, in T20, you don’t have the luxury to be able to miss a chance. Having Harts there is very reassuring,” Lehmann said.
Hartley has played 25 T20 games in total in his career, taking 17 catches and claiming five stumpings.
The Heat will announce further signings during the recruiting window which continues until this Friday.
Each BBL team has to sign a minimum of 14 players in the signing window, with a maximum of 18 players allowed. Final squads will be completed by November 30.
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