Jimmy Peirson: Fatherhood, Leadership, and Big Bash Dreams

Jimmy Peirson was forced to hone his skills while waiting behind veteran keeper Chris Harley for the Queensland job, but nothing has changed his view of cricket quite like fatherhood.

The Brisbane Heat dynamo had dreamt of being a wicketkeeper since he was 10, but quickly found out it was the hardest role to break into, when he found himself behind Hartley at the peak of his powers. 

While fishing and country music concerts once filled his spare time, Peirson has swapped the fishing rod for the baby blanket and says his cricket has improved on the back of it. 

“Cricket is still a priority, but it’s no longer the priority, the kids are the most important thing in my life,” Peirson said of his daughter Evelyn and son William with wife Amy. 

“I reckon becoming a father has made me a better cricketer, it has taken the pressure off a bit. 

“We have done it the hard way, there is only a 15-month gap between them, they are three and two, so it is helter skelter at the moment. 

“It makes you prioritize your time and changes the way you look at things, you are more mature about how you do things and I feel like my performances on the field have been more consistent since having kids.

“They don’t care what I have done on the field, they keep you honest."

Such has been the progression in Peirson’s career, he was handed the Brisbane Heat captaincy with regular leader Usman Khawaja on international duties less than a week after welcoming his son into the world. 

Peirson led the Heat in their agonizing defeat to the Perth Scorchers in the 2023 BBL final, which he says still leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. 

“I found I took more to heart when I was captain of a side, I copped it harder, but your coping mechanisms get better with time,” he said.

“You look back on it, especially as captain and start to think what you could have done differently, what could have changed, but hindsight is wonderful. 

“It still stings, for the majority of that game we were in the box seat, but in the last four overs the game changed on us, it was a tough one to reflect on.”

Peirson has been forced to bide his time for much of his career, but got a taste of what it looks like at the top level when he was called up to the Australian squad during the most recent Ashes series in England. 

While he was forced to play second fiddle behind Alex Carey, Peirson had the best seat in the house and was able to catch up with former Brisbane Heat team mate and one-time idol Brendon McCullum, who now coaches the English side with his famous “BazBall” method.

“It was about getting the guys ready to play, I was ready to go if needed, but it didn’t eventuate, but it was a dramatic series, which was great and I had the best view in the house,” he said. 

“It gave me a taste of what it’d be like to play in that side. 

“He was one of my idols growing up, I had him and Gilly, so they are two that I watched very closely and they both changed what a keeper's role is now being the devastating batsmen they were. 

“It was awesome to be able to play with him and to be able to call him a mate is pretty cool. 

“When he was playing for us at the Heat, he was the captain and he had the leadership skills and has a clear identity when he takes control of a side, we saw that at the Heat and now at the English cricket side. 

“He has changed the way the game has been played for many.”

While change has been a constant around Peirson for much of his career, he believes stability at the Heat can allow them to go one better in the Big Bash this season. 

“We have a group of guys we are trying to keep together, we have the same overseas guys pretty much this time,” he said.

“There are less games, so we need to be better earlier on, but I feel like we are working towards something pretty special as a group.”

 

 

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