The Somerset captain will replace his county teammate Tom Banton, who opted not to take up his BBL contract with the Heat last month, and is expected to be available for the entire competition.
Abell, 27, comes to the Heat with glowing reports from Queensland Cricket legend Stuart Law and Heat assistant coach Darren Lehmann, each of whom have coached against the middle order batsman in recent seasons.
Heat coach Wade Seccombe said the club was excited to welcome Abell, who took Somerset to the Final of the Vitality Blast T20 competition last month, including a stirring 78 not out from 45 balls in the quarterfinals and 50 in the semi-finals.
“The more we looked at Tom, and the more people we caught up with, the more confident we became that he would fit really well into the Heat,’’ he said.
“Darren came back from his stint as coach of the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred and he had only good things to report and Stuey Law also recommended him highly as a resilient, talented and hungry player who is also an excellent team man and leader.”
“Tom has worked hard to improve his T20 game and has certainly blossomed in the past few seasons. He played hockey at a high level as a youngster and is a bit unorthodox at the crease so he will certainly fill a role for us,’’ Seccombe said.
Law, head coach of Middlesex, has seen Abell in action on numerous occasions as the skipper of Somerset, a role he took on in 2017.
Abell, who also bowls right-arm medium pace, has played 53 T20 matches with a career strike-rate of 144.94, including stints in the Bangladesh Premier League and Pakistan Super League in the past two years and coming off the back of the English summer where he played for Somerset and the Birmingham Phoenix who both made the finals this season.
Abell, who played a season of Premier Cricket in Perth earlier in his career, will not have to go far for insights into what awaits him in the BBL, with Somerset teammate and allrounder Lewis Gregory playing for Brisbane last season.
Abell said the signing was a significant career milestone.
“I cannot wait to get out to Australia and join up with the Heat club. I have always been a huge fan of the BBL and there has been a long-standing connection with the Heat and Somerset with the likes of Lewis Gregory, Tom Banton, Craig Kieswetter and Roelof van der Merwe over the years.
“I am really excited by the opportunity, and I am looking forward to getting stuck in and doing my bit for the team”.
His signing completes Brisbane’s international recruiting, alongside fellow Englishman Ben Duckett and Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
The Heat have announced Chris Lynn, Xavier Bartlett, Sam Heazlett, Jimmy Peirson (c), Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Matt Willans, Tom Cooper, Michael Neser, Marnus Labuschagne, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (International), Ben Duckett (International) and Tom Abell (International) as players under contract for BBL|11 and beyond.