Team analysis: Brisbane Heat BBL13 targets

Finishing in 43rd overall in BBL11, Tim Williams analyses the Brisbane Heat's Supercoach credentials heading into the season.


The Brisbane Heat enter the new Big Bash season looking to pick up where they left off last campaign having finished runner-up to eventual champions Perth.

Historically they’ve struggled in the BBL, hoisting the trophy just once all the way back in BBL02.

They started last season in poor touch, but a rampant late surge saw them sneak into the finals, before making a run all the way to the decider.

Had it not been for some extraordinary late hitting from the Scorchers they may have added to their mantlepiece.

They start the Supercoach season as the most in demand team due to a remarkable triple game round to launch their campaign.

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In theory, it was going to be a case of loading on the Queenslanders due to their three game round.

However, the lead-in to the tournament from a Supercoach perspective has been nothing but a bumpy road.

Numerous players named in the Prime Minister’s XI squad, the surprise availability of Test stars for the first game, and injury concern to key players has left the make-up of the squad in tatters.

Predicting who will play all three games is largely a mystery and has taken away plenty of appeal from the Heat.

That being said, there are several players who should get the three games and as such will remain in high demand.

They have their first bye of the campaign in Round 3.

As usual, monitoring the team list for game one will be vital, but even then there are players who may drop out by game two and three as players return.

Heat regulars Sam Billings and Colin Munro headline their international recruits, while they’re joined by Englishman Paul Walter.

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Colin Munro // BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 50.4 // $156,100

The former Kiwi international knows the Australian conditions as well as most locals as he enters another BBL campaign.

He’s one of the Heat players that should get all three games, and you’d be brave to suggest he won’t take flight in at least one of those digs.

In eight games last season he scored 278 runs at an average of 34.75, striking at 150.27.

Across 401 career T20s he averages 30.60, striking at 141.97.

His most recent cricket has been in the Caribbean Premier League where he’s produced scores of 36*, 1, 4, 55, 72*, 10 and 33.

He also averaged 27.75 in the Vitality Blast this year, so he’s seeing the ball as well as ever the old boy.

Of course as a bat only there’s volatility in his scoring, but the upside is hard to ignore.

Michael Neser // BAT-BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 62.4 // $194,000

A late pre-season spanner has been thrown with Neser’s withdrawal from the PM’s XI clash due to muscle soreness, but also reports that he may be available for the Heat due to the smaller workload.

He’s a Supercoach gun, playing the round 1 triple.

Of course there’s going to be doubt on playing all three games even if picked for the opener, but with his role for the Heat and Supercoach history I think it’s a risk worth taking if named.

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Xavier Bartlett // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 28.3 // $133,300

Perhaps one that’s been overlooked a little this pre-season?

Bartlett is a wicket-taker that can hit a long ball when given the opportunity.

He was a victim of rotation often last season which impacted his average, meaning he starts at an okay price.

The risk is that even if named it’s uncertain if he’ll keep his spot once players return for game two and three.

Risky, but possibly a risk worth taking.

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Sam Billings // WKP-BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 37.8 // $116,900

I’ve had Billings locked into my team since Supercoach opened.

The explosive Englishman will wicket-keep, bat top four and should be secured for all three games.

$117k is genuine value for a player of his pedigree who knows the conditions well.

He did struggle in the Vitality Blast this year, in 14 games averaging just 18.41 with the bat.

However, he did blast 76* off 40 balls in his second last dig in The Hundred tournament in the UK in late August suggesting better form isn’t far away.

Spencer Johnson // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 40.5 // $125,500

Johnson has me in two minds, possibly even three or four.

I want him, he’s absolute class, and he starts at a decent price.

However, he’s nursing an injury that has him in doubt to start the campaign.

Even if named for the opening game, will he play all three fixtures in round 1?

If I knew he was good to go it’d be lock and load, but it’s a worry when there’s so many other quality options playing the double in round 1.

Wickets have eluded him of late, taking just 3 scalps in his past seven games, including T20s for Australia against South Africa.

However, the talent is undeniable and they’ll start to fall soon enough.

A big watch on his fitness leading into game one.

Matt Kuhnemann // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 33.6 // $104,000

Starts cheap, is the first choice spinner for the Heat, and has plenty of ability.

With Mitch Swepson in the squad does he play all three games of the opening Supercoach round?

Probably, but there’s some risk of a rest.

I’ll likely avoid, but he’s worth a look.

Paul Walter // BAT-BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: N/A // $105,000

The English all-round Walter is an intriguing prospect to start the season, and while there’s uncertainty around his exact role, he could provide serious value at just $105k.

In 17 games in the T20 Vitality Blast this year, Walter scored 363 runs at an average of 21.35 at a huge strike-rate of 157.82. He took 12 wickets at an economy of 9.08.

The concern is that he’ll need to adapt to Australian conditions very quickly to reward Supercoaches, something superior internationals to Walter have historically struggled to do.

Provided he gets the three games which he should, you aren’t likely to go too far wrong at the price if you do choose to take the gamble on him.

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Mitchell Swepson // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 23.0 // $71,300

As Maxy Bryden puts it, there’s a reason why Swepson is so cheap.

Since representing Australia, he’s struggled to find consistent form that’s seen him demoted at times at State level.

With Kuhnemann the first choice spin option at the Heat there’s every chance Swepson doesn’t get all three games.

If we knew he was going to you’d get him straight in at the price, but it seems risky.

Max Bryant // BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 21.4 // $66,400

The availability of Marnus and Uzzy for game one is a bit of a spanner for Bryant’s Supercoach credentials as it makes his position in the line-up somewhat of a mystery when they leave.

Likely to bat at five or six for the opening game, his opportunity with the blade will be limited.

But once the Australian players depart he should go higher up the order, however there’s still the return of Nathan McSweeney from the PM’s XI clash.

He has hit some form of late, but he’s been less than convincing in recent BBL campaigns since blasting onto the scene a few years back, so I’ll likely avoid.

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Brisbane Heat – Predicted Round 1 team and rationale via Max Bryden

Usman Khawaja // BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 20.2 // $125,000

Colin Munro // BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 50.4 // $156,100

Marnus Labuschagne // BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 24.3 // $125,000

Sam Billings // WKP-BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 37.8 // $116,900

Max Bryant // BAT // SC BBL12 Ave: 21.4 // $66,400

Paul Walter // BAT-BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: N/A // $105,000

Jack Wildermuth // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: N/A // $91,100

Xavier Bartlett // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 28.3 // $133,300

Matt Kuhnemann // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 33.6 // $104,000

Mitchell Swepson // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 23.0 // $71,300

Spencer Johnson // BWL // SC BBL12 Ave: 40.5 // $125,500


Michael Neser (Governor General’s XI), Nathan McSweeney (PM’s XI) Jimmy Pierson (PM’s XI), Matt Renshaw (PM’s XI), Jack Wood, Will Prestwidge, Josh Brown.

Changes from last year

As it stands the Heat look decimated by the PM’s XI team more than any other side, which is awful news given their relevance to Round 1.

With absence comes opportunity and the big winners will be Sam Billings, and Jack Wildermuth.

Billings will take the gloves while Pierson is away, while Wildermuth at $91k could hold the number 7 slot down until Neser is back.

Neser pulled out of the PM’s XI game with a minor injury niggle but may be available for game one.

Nathan McSweeney was always a chance of being in the best XI but is unavailable now. We will also see Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja play in the first game before the Test tour – don’t get sucked in by the big name, they’re going to miss games 2 and 3. 

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Englishman Paul Walter is a bits-and-pieces player who will smash it late in the innings and bowl a couple of overs when needed. It’s the Dan Christian role which we know is volatile, but at $105k he’s worth a look.

Mitch Swepson is a chance to fill a bowlers spot but has been relegated at state level to carrying the drinks behind first-choice spinner Matt Kuhnemann. The departure of Sam Heazlett to the Hurricanes gives Max Bryant a clear role and job security, albeit he’s not that reliable.


There’s some continuity in the squad for the side which made it all the way to the Big Final last year.

Colin Munro and Billings are great overseas players but the bowling attack has a lot of question marks over it. Are Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett going to be fit for Round 1? How many overs will Walter bowl? Who bowls death overs in this side?

The good news is that when they’re all available, McSweeney and Walter in the top 6 does provide them with a very balanced squad.

The only other point of contention will be if Jack Wood a cheapie dual position player whose been on fire in Grade Cricket competitions across the country will usurp Brown for an opener’s spot.

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