Bazley, 25, was a Heat rookie player in BBL|04 after the Sunshine Coast product had stamped himself as a player to watch with eye-catching efforts for the Australian Under-19 team and as a Queensland Bulls rookie contracted player.
While the Heat rookie role did not feature a playing component, it dovetailed with a season that saw the fast bowling allrounder play for the Cricket Australia XI in a T20 tour match against South Africa.
Bazley played all his List A, T20 and first-class cricket in the Cricket Australia XI colours during a three-year window, with his first class debut in the 2015-16 Season against the West Indies, producing a half century and four wickets.
A right-hand batsman and right-arm fast medium bowler, he played 11 List A games for the Cricket Australia XI over two seasons in the Matador Cup, Australia’s domestic one-day competition.
Along the way, he was contracted by the Hobart Hurricanes for the BBL in 2016-17, but his time in Tasmania was curtailed by a serious groin injury that sidelined him for almost two seasons.
A close friend and former housemate of Australian batting trump and new Heat teammate Marnus Labuschagne, Bazley persevered through serious injury and his return to top-level cricket picked up pace last season, ending up as one of the most successful bowlers playing for the Queensland 2nd XI team in the Toyota Futures League Competition.
The 196cm allrounder has carried that form into 2020-21 form and is currently the equal highest wicket taker in the Bulls Masters First Grade competition.
“It has been quite a journey to get to this point, but I’ve persevered and worked through it and its hugely exciting to finally be back and with the Heat now on the eve of the BBL,’’ Bazley said.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have had great support along the way and the chance to experience the different challenges away from cricket has been inspiring. I certainly have a different perspective on the game now than when I did when I was starting out and I’m certainly a very different player.”
“I can also say that the weekly and, when he’s home, daily stints of garage cricket at Marnus’ place over the past few years have certainly kept the game fun for me and all our mates. Having great family, friends and coaches in my circle has been extraordinarily helpful for me continuing to be resilient and work hard towards my goals,” he said.
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann said Bazley’s versatility and talent had attracted the club’s attention.
“James has certainly had to overcome a few challenges to get to this point, but we know he is a resilient character and a skilled player of enormous potential, and we’re looking forward to helping him showcase his skills and helping the Heat do really well this year,” he said.
“He’s got great variety in his bowling and is courageous in the death overs, he’s a talented bat who hits a long ball, so we think he will be very handy. He was highly rated as a young player and when you add in his maturity now, he should be a real asset to the team,’’ he said.
“We’re pretty happy with how things are coming together as we get close to starting our preparations. There’s a few areas to finalise but it has been a rewarding lead-in so far to the BBL,” Lehmann said.
The Heat opens its season in Canberra on 11 December 2020 against the Melbourne Stars, followed by a clash with the Sydney Thunder on 14 December 2020 at Manuka Oval before returning home to play the next block of games.
The newly revamped Gabba and Metricon Stadium will host Heat home games as well as neutral matches once the competition reverts to Queensland from 23 December.
The Heat will host the Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba on 23 December 2020 and the Hobart Hurricanes on 27 December 2020, as well as being the ‘away’ team on 30 December 2020 when they clash with the Hurricanes in the return clash at the Gabba.
Venues for matches scheduled in the New Year will be announced in the coming weeks, with additional games earmarked for the Gabba and Metricon Stadium.
The Heat have announced the following players so far for BBL|10:
Tom Banton (Eng)
James Bazley (NEW)
Tom Cooper (NEW)
Lewis Gregory (NEW, Eng)
Dan Lawrence (NEW, Eng)
Morne Morkel (NEW)
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)
Jack Wildermuth (NEW)