20-year-old Matthew Willans – at 205 cm – is set to become the tallest player in the forthcoming Big Bash League, as the Brisbane Heat announced him and 21-year-old Xavier Bartlett as their final two contracted players for BBL 2020/21.
Both the young Queensland pacers have been a part of the Brisbane Heat previously as well. While Bartlett was signed as a replacement for injured Luke Feldman in January 2017, Willans has been a Heat rookie-contracted player for the past two seasons that saw him train with the full squad.
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann expressed satisfaction over the two raw pace sensations joining the squad on a full-time basis. He praised his support staff too for helping the youngsters overcome their injury woes.
“Xavier’s ability to swing the ball at pace and bowl with good control will make him an attractive option for us, especially with the new ‘X-Factor’ rule that allows substitutions during the game.
Matty Willans is really exciting with the bounce he gets from his height, as well as being a left-armer, so I can certainly see a role for him depending on the conditions and match-ups we might encounter,” said the Brisbane Heat chief.
Bartlett, who was a part of Australia’s 2018 U-19 World Cup squad, has taken 20 wickets in 13 List A games at an impressive average of 23.85.
Willans, on the other hand, featured at the U-19 World Cup in South Africa earlier this year and has scalped 8 wickets at 10.17 for University of Queensland in the Bulls Master First Grade competition recently.
Full squad of Brisbane Heat for BBL 2020-21
Squad list: Tom Banton, James Bazley, Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, Sam Heazlett, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschnagne, Ben Laughlin, Dan Lawrence, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Jimmy Pierson, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Matt Willans, Jack Wildermuth
The Brisbane Heat will start their campaign on December 11 against the Melbourne Stars at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, with their final league match scheduled on January 26 against Perth Scorchers.