Skipper, Jimmy | Brisbane Heat - BBL
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Skipper, Jimmy

23 September 2021

Sensible. Boring. Reserved. They're hardly words you'd associate with the Brisbane Heat.

But that will all change if new captain Jimmy Peirson has his way, the wicketkeeper outlining plans to return the side to the summit as he prepares to take the reins from Chris Lynn this Big Bash League season.

"In previous years it was sink or swim; we've been either really good or really bad," Peirson said.

"But there's more than one way to skin a cat ... we can take some risks out of our game and build up a more consistent brand of cricket.

"Personally my best cricket's probably come in the last year or so, but I've been around for a while and understand what the team needs to be more successful.

"We're starting to work out how this team wants to play and sometimes it's about doing the boring stuff."

It all started late last season when the 'keeper's tough runs helped the stuttering Heat catch fire again and finish third overall.

He was not out in nine of 16 innings, scoring an incredible 69 from 36 balls to almost snatch an impossible win over the Adelaide Strikers and then 47no and 43no inside three days in knockout finals.

The fluency shown there was a far cry from his first life in the side as a hard-hitting opening batsmen who would slash and crash in a reckless manner that now makes the new skipper laugh.

Eventually that led to a run of outs that saw Peirson dropped for the first time in a wake-up call he says helped him across all three formats.

"That's the way we wanted to play and we had that identity for sure," Peirson said.

"I got dropped, wasn't scoring runs and that was a turning point, a kick up the arse to work on my game.

"I was lucky to come back in and knew I had to take my chance and stay there and now I'm leading the side and excited to make a mark on the game."

Peirson is no stranger to captaincy, becoming Queensland's youngest-ever Sheffield Shield winning skipper when the Queensland Bulls won the competition in 2018,

He admits he's a "completely different cricketer" now, helped largely by the addition of two children, the most recent arriving just last week.

Add two cattle dogs into the mix and there's plenty on Peirson's plate.

And while he said that has made him more resourceful with his time, the oldest of three brothers has always carried a sense of responsibility.

"I'm not Captain Grumpy and while I'm still very competitive, I'm a bit more reserved and always been that way as a big brother.

"In a young team you almost feel like the sensible one.

"I'm not too abrupt and out there as some captains can be, and being a dad now probably adds to that."

Titles with the Heat and Bulls are driving Peirson into a season still full of unknowns thanks to COVID-19.

But after a Shield season in which he averaged 44.6 and showed his class up to the stumps to leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, there is another carrot too.

"Last year I had some success and that's great; I know I can do it," he  said.

"But I'm still one or two good seasons away (from making a firm case for Australian selection), so it's a great motivator.

"One good year is great, but I want to make it two, three in a row.

"You've seen what (long-time Redlands clubmate and current world No.4 Test batsman) Marnus has done and know that anything's possible.
"And if my mates are all playing for Australia I don't want to miss the boat."

Peirson and his Bulls and soon to be Heat coach Wade Seccombe go way back.

Peirson started his cricket as an enthusiastic junior who naturally gravitated to keeping as a way of staying involved in the game .

Seccombe’s career had been firmly established as one of Queensland’s greats with the gloves, so Peirson’s blossoming career initially intersected with Chris Hartley, who had taken on the mantle as the Bulls No.1 ‘keeper after serving his apprenticeship under Seccombe.

Peirson found himself entering the orbit of both legends as he flourished in his teens.

The pair came together in the Queensland Under-19 squad in 2011, with Seccombe making an initial foray into coaching after establishing a successful business in his post-playing days.

“He (Seccombe) was a freak of nature behind the stumps, but still found the game hard,’’ Peirson recalled.

“And those guys make good coaches because they know what it takes to work your way out of any tough times. He’s always been someone I have turned to help get my game back.”

Seccombe likewise knew Queensland had uncovered the latest in a long line of Maroon glovemen who brought more than just their skill behind the stumps into the team environment, and when it came time to finalise the latest leader for the Brisbane Heat, the options were obvious.

“When Chris (Lynn) informed us that he would be stepping down, we knew there was a good opportunity to review and renew the leadership roles within the Heat group,’’ he said.

“When it came time to formalize our thinking during the off-season, Darren (Lehmann) and I, the Heat committee and the rest of the staff were on the same page around making Jimmy captain for the BBL this summer.

“It’s a big job and so we wanted him to have plenty of time to consider the role and what sort of things he expected from the club and the coaching staff if he was to take on the role.

“As an organisation, we’re obviously very pleased he has agreed to do the job full-time after being impressive last season when he took on the role.

“I was fortunate enough to have Jimmy as our captain when I was coaching the 19s and even then, he showed innate leadership qualities and a desire to see the team perform at their best,’’ he said.

“He works well with his senior players and keeps a calm head which are great attributes to call upon.”

Peirson last summer was a revelation to those who don’t always notice the unobtrusive figure behind the stumps.

He enjoyed the best of his seven BBL seasons for the Heat, during which he was unbeaten in nine of 16 innings, including a stirring 69no from 36 balls against Adelaide that almost snatched victory from a near-impossible situation.

When his side reached the finals, Peirson's new-found confidence came to the fore. It had been more than eight years since the Heat had won a BBL knockout match and Peirson, with contrasting but equally composed hands of 47no and 43no, helped them to two in three days.