Brisbane Heat bolster batting unit with Tom Banton signing
Brisbane Heat have roped in Somerset star Tom Banton as their fourth overseas recruit for the upcoming season of the Big Bash League.
Banton, who was recently named England’s Young Cricketer of the Year, racked up an astronomical tally of 549 runs at a strike rate of 161.47 in the T20 Blast.
He finished as the tournament's second-leading run-getter, behind Somerset teammate Babar Azam.
The 20-year-old was rewarded with a maiden call-up to the T20 squad for the series against New Zealand scheduled to take place next month.
Banton, possessing a high average of 39.40 in the shortest format, will be available for Heat's first eight games in the 2019-20 season before AB de Villiers joins the franchise for the second half.
"If you had asked me at the start of the summer would I imagine it going like this, I would have probably had a laugh and suggested you weren't serious," the young prodigy told the BBL team's website.
Super excited to have signed with the Brisbane Heat for BBL09. I love Australia and can’t wait to join up with the boys!! See you soon @HeatBBL . @HeatBBL @BBL #BringTheHeat #BBL09 ?? pic.twitter.com/PibkWXGNbL— Tom Banton (@TomBanton18) October 9, 2019
"I was blown away when it was announced last week that AB was coming to join the Heat so what was already going to be a huge experience just got bigger. I'm really looking forward to coming to Brisbane and seeing what Queensland has to offer after previously playing club cricket in Perth when I was younger.
"I've watched a fair bit of the BBL at home and it is a quality competition with so many outstanding players. I can't wait to be honest."
Brisbane Heat head coach Darren Lehmann looked forward to Banton's presence in the squad.
"He was the talk of English cricket during their season. Outside the World Cup and the Ashes, Tom was the player that a lot of people were really excited to be watching, and with good reason," he said.
Heat, captained by Chris Lynn, also have the Afghanistan spin duo Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Zahir Khan in their line-up as every BBL club can sign a maximum of six international players across the season.