Photo Credit: Brisbane Heat Media
The Brisbane Heat have swooped to secure the signature of exciting English batsman Tom Banton for the next two years of the KFC Big Bash League.
Banton, currently in South Africa where he made his One Day International debut for England overnight in the series against the Proteas, played the first half of BBL|09 for the Heat, hitting three half centuries at a team high strike rate of 176.98 in his haul of 223 runs.
He thrashed the second fastest half century of all time in the BBL during the rain-affected clash with the Sydney Thunder, scoring 50 from just 16 balls including hitting five sixes in an over.
The 21-year-old right-hander has played three T20 Internationals for England and shapes as a potential member of their squad for the ICC World T20 Cup tournament in Australia in October.
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann said Banton had been identified as a key signing for the club.
“I think anyone who saw Tom during his seven games for the Heat in the BBL would agree that he is a special player and someone we think can play an important role for us over the next two years,’’ he said.
“We wanted to move quickly and are very pleased that Tom has agreed to terms. He’s a good young lad and we think his cricket will only get better from here. He’s got his first IPL coming up and he’s in the English set-up, so we know how highly he is thought of around the world.’’
Lehmann said that while Banton’s future playing commitments were still to be finalized, the intention was to have the right-hander available for the entire BBL|10 campaign.
The Heat coach said the club had been in contact with South African star AB de Villiers since the end of Brisbane’s BBL campaign.
“AB was very positive about the prospects of returning to the Heat, so that is encouraging. We will keep working on things to see what the options are ahead of BBL|10,’’ Lehmann said.
“We certainly didn’t have the type of finish to our season that we would have hoped for, and we know our fans were as disappointed as we were. We’ve spent some time since then reflecting on what worked and what we could improve on, and the best ways to achieve the goals we have set ourselves.”