Watson joins Heat for three years
Thursday July 19, 2012
The Brisbane Heat will welcome Australian Test, ODI and T20 allrounder Shane Watson to their ranks for the next three years.
Heat coach Darren Lehmann confirmed today that the Ipswich product would return home to Queensland for the next three KFC T20 Big Bash League competitions.
Watson will be available today for a media opportunity at 11am at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs parklands, overlooking the city adjacent to the Cliffs Cafe off River Terrace. On-street parking is available on River Terrace.
The 31-year-old premier allrounder, who was twice won the Allan Border Medal, has played 83 T20 games in his career, including 27 T20 Internationals for Australia, and was named yesterday in the preliminary 30-man squad to prepare for the ICC World T20 Cup in Sri Lanka in September and October.
He has scored 2233 career runs at 145.85, including a highest score of 97 not out, and taken 66 wickets at an economy rate of 7.18.
Lehmann said while Watson was still heavily committed to representing Australia, the chance to secure him for three years was too good to pass up.
“I saw firsthand how dominant he could be during the IPL this year when he was with Rajasthan and when we got to putting our list together, we were pretty excited to factor him into the squad.”
“There was probably a fair bit about lifestyle in Watto’s decision to be honest, as I know he was keen to spend some more time around Brisbane to be closer to his family,” he said.
“But we also anticipate that there will be opportunities for Shane to play with the Heat this season and for the next two seasons, and you don’t miss a chance to put a world class player like him into your playing group,” Lehmann said.
“He’s an Ipswich boy and I thought it was great what he did when he came back to lend a hand in the community after the floods.
“He’s certainly a generous person when it comes to remembering where he came from and I am sure that the folks from Ipswich will head to the Gabba in their droves when he plays for us.”
“Another positive thing for us is that he knows a lot of guys in our group from his days with Queensland and in the Australian set-up so there’s a good feel about him joining us,” Lehmann said.
“I know we’re pretty pumped to have three of the best T20 allrounders in the world in Watto, DC (Dan Christian) and James Hopes in our line-up.”
Watson said he was excited about working with Lehmann back in Brisbane.
“Boof is a great bloke and has made a really big impact as a coach since he went down that path. I know the Queensland boys have really enjoyed their cricket under him and it seems a really great fit for me to join the Heat and get to work with him.”
“My priority will be to play as much cricket for Australia as I can this summer but the BBL is an exciting thing to be a part of. I love T20 cricket and I’m looking forward to being back home playing in front of friends and family.” he said.
Watson’s signing takes the Heat playing list to 12 confirmed recruits.
He joins Dan Vettori, Alister McDermott, Nathan Hauritz, Dan Christian, Ryan Harris, Ben Cutting, Luke Pomersbach, Chris Lynn, Joe Burns, James Hopes and Chris Hartley as Brisbane recruits for BBL|02.
The Heat will announce further signings during the recruiting window which continues until 5pm (AEST) tomorrow.
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