Mujeeb, currently the ICC’s number two ranked T20 International spinner, joins English limited overs dasher Tom Banton as the Heat’s international recruits for BBL|10 as preparations gear up for this summer’s competition.
The ‘mystery’ spinner has been in action of late for King’s XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League where he has continued to enhance his reputation as a PowerPlay specialist with the ball.
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Heat coach Darren Lehmann confirmed that whilst Mujeeb had signed with the club for his third season in teal, South African superstar AB de Villiers was unable to return for this summer.
“We’ve been in regular contact with AB since last season and while things initially looked fine for him to come back, there have been a few factors emerge which have changed everyone’s plans,’’ he said.
“The main one, aside from the challenges represented by COVID-19 and international travel, is that AB and his wife Danielle are expecting their third child very soon. Naturally we’re very pleased for them and know that the next few months will be a very special time for all. “
“We have always stressed the importance of family within the Heat and this is an instance where we fully back any decisions that AB makes in this regard.”
“We’ll stay in contact and see what develops. He has been in excellent touch in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore, so he obviously remains a player we’d like to keep working with when the circumstances allow.”
De Villiers expressed his thanks to the Heat for their backing.
“It’s exciting for Danielle and me with the arrival of our new baby very soon. So, with a young, growing family, and the uncertainty around travel and conditions due to COVID-19, we reluctantly decided it wasn’t going to be this season.”
“The Heat were great to us last summer and I am very open to returning to the club in the future. The team didn’t get the results we were hoping for and I consider there is some unfinished business to deal with.”
“I wish the boys all the best for BBL|10 and will keep a close eye on results as we go,” de Villiers said.
Lehmann said Mujeeb continued to develop in stature as a T20 bowler and formed a match-winning partnership with Heat leg-spinner Mitch Swepson.
“He’s doing a lot of the little things as well as anyone, and his control and maturity have gone to a new level I believe. He was outstanding in the Caribbean Premier League recently when he was the second leading wicket-taker in the competition, and he’s shown in the IPL that he can handle the very best.’’
“We’re very pleased to have him back with us and with the BBL schedule potentially looking quite different to the usual format, his versatility and ability to create chances in a range of conditions will be very important for us.”
“I know Mujeeb enjoys coming to Brisbane and the challenge of playing in the BBL so it’s exciting he is coming back,” Lehmann said.
“We’re pretty pleased to put him alongside ‘Swepo’ and Matt Kuhnemann as our frontline spinners because your slow bowlers are so important as to how you set up your fielding innings.”
The 19-year-old Mujeeb took 16 wickets at an average of 13.56 and economy of 5.29 for Jamaica in the CPL.
His Heat career has seen him take 15 wickets in 18 BBL games, with an economy rate of 6.08.
Speaking from Dubai, Mujeeb said he was eagerly awaiting his BBL return.
“I’ve enjoyed my two seasons with Brisbane Heat very much and I am very happy to be returning for another. Hopefully the Heat can have a successful tournament!”
Mujeeb joins English international Tom Banton as the Heat’s two overseas signings leading into the tournament that will get underway in December.
Lehmann confirmed that the Heat would also pursue a third international recruit following last week’s announcement by Cricket Australia that it would fund an additional overseas player for BBL|10.
“It is a challenging environment to secure players, but we are pleased with the positive response so far from the individuals we have sounded out about playing with the Heat this summer,’’ he said.
The Heat have announced the following players so far: