Rising young Queensland pace bowlers Xavier Bartlett and Matthew Willans join the Heat’s contracted list of 19 players for the first time for this summer’s KFC Big Bash League after both quicks previously filled player roles within the organization.
Bartlett, 21, was signed by Brisbane as a replacement player in January 2017 when he took over from an injured Luke Feldman in the Heat squad.
While not required to play on that occasion, the 18-year-old Gold Coast product trained on with the club during the remaining matches in BBL|06 after Feldman returned from injury.
Willans, who turns 20 in December, has gained a full contract for the first time after being a Heat rookie-contracted player for the past two seasons, that has seen him train and be part of the overall squad.
The 205cm left-arm paceman will be the tallest player in the BBL this summer.
Both bowlers are former Australian Under-19 World Cup representatives, with Bartlett playing alongside Heat teammate Max Bryant at the 2018 World Cup while Willans was a member of the 2020 squad that played in the ICC event in South Africa.
Each of them has successfully overcome back injuries to make their playing returns this year, with Bartlett playing two Marsh Sheffield Shield games for the Queensland Bulls in Adelaide recently.
The right-arm paceman impressed with seven wickets in the win over Tasmania.
Willans has made a sound return with University of Queensland in the Bulls Masters First Grade competition recently, taking eight wickets at 10.17 from his four games to date.
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Brisbane coach Darren Lehmann said he was glad to see the pair of young quicks on the Heat books.
“They are both fine young men and I know each of them have individually worked very hard to get to this point,’’ he said.
“It’s a credit to them and the Queensland Cricket coaches Wade Seccombe, Andy Bichel and James Hopes that they have overcome injury and can now show the sort of skills that will make fans sit up and take notice,’’ Lehmann said,
“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. He’s physically matured in the past 12 months and is a very good mover so it will be exciting to see what he is capable of, if the opportunity arises,” Lehmann said.
Bartlett has played 13 List A games, including three for the now defunct CA XI and nine for Queensland, and five Shield game for the Bulls where he has 20 wickets at 23.85.
Willans, who worked closely with former Queensland and Australian quick Ryan Harris during the Australian Under-19 World Cup campaign, is a Queensland Bulls rookie-contracted player for the second year in a row.
The Heat have announced the following squad for BBL|10:
Tom Banton (Eng)
James Bazley (NEW)
Xavier Bartlett (NEW)
Tom Cooper (NEW)
Lewis Gregory (NEW, Eng)
Dan Lawrence (NEW, Eng)
Morne Morkel (NEW)
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)
Matt Willans (NEW)
Jack Wildermuth (NEW)