Brisbane Heat: Kuhnemann ready for a big summer

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Photo Credit: Brisbane Heat

Brisbane Heat spin maestro Matt Kuhnemann will head into the Big Bash season infused with confidence by words of wisdom from Indian sheik of tweak Ravindra Jadeja.

It has been a head-spinning time for Kuhnemann, making both his Test and one-day international debuts in the last 15 months as well as being a vital cog for the Heat and Queensland Bulls.

Kuhnemann was a left-field selection for the Indian Test tour earlier this year and says being presented with his first baggy green cap as well as claiming his first Test wicket, the legendary Virat Kohli, were life highlights.

Kuhnemann also proved to himself – and to the world – he could cut the mustard at the top level when he snared 5-16 as the Aussies rolled the Indians in Indore.

But just as important was when he had a masterclass with fellow left-armer Jadeja, the superstar Indian, after the Test series.

It was a thrill for many reasons given that Kuhnemann idolises Jadeja and was once nicknamed “Jaddu” (one of Jadeja’s nicknames) by Queensland teammates.

“We spoke about absolutely everything and he had so many tips for me,” Kuhnemann said.

“He talked to me about how he thought I was bowling and he gave me some really positive feedback which gave me a lot of confidence.

“He had a lot of praise for me, he said he really liked my bowling and my action.

“He gave me some tiny little tweaks that could fix up a couple of things.

“But basically, he said that what I was doing right now was really good.

“I have still got to pinch myself that I played in the Indian Test series, it was the best day of my life when I got the baggy green cap and then got Virat as my first Test wicket.”

Kuhnemann played all 18 matches for the Heat last season, taking 16 wickets at an economy rate of 7.57 and proving a vital member of the Brisbane line-up that finished as runners-up.

It saw him chased hard by three rival clubs in the off-season, all of which were wanting his signature.

But Kuhnemann stayed loyal to the Heat, locking in a long-term three-year contract to remain in the teal.

“When other clubs want you, it must mean I’m doing something right,” Kuhnemann said.

“But I love the Heat, we have a really good young crop of guys coming through, and I also love playing in front of the Brisbane crowd.

“The Gabba is my favourite ground to bowl at, the wicket gives you some nice bounce.

“It’s funny, because when I was coming through the junior system, someone told me there was no room for finger spin in Big Bash cricket and you had to have a doosra or some mystery balls.

“But I looked at someone like Steve O’Keefe (Sydney Sixers and Australian spinner) and I thought he did a fantastic job throughout his career bowling left-arm orthodox.”

Kuhnemann has quickly become a jack-of-all-trades in terms of cricket formats he plays.

He admits it took him a while to work out how to juggle preparing for each format.

But now he has a very simple strategy.

“It probably took me a while to get my head around bowling spin in the different formats and having a blueprint for all of them,” he said.

“I have now learned that if I am bowling well with a red ball, then my white ball cricket takes care of itself.

“I try to practice with both the red and white ball during every week.

“Another thing I have learned in the last 12 months is that I’ve got to be ready to be called up for any format at any given time.”

Kuhnemann had the early stages of what was thought to be a bone stress fracture in his back when he was playing for Glamorgan during winter.

But he says he got onto the issue quickly and it won’t be an issue for the Aussie summer.


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