The Brisbane Heat’s squad for the fifth edition of the Twenty20 Big Bash League has been boosted, with club stalwart James Hopes re-signing on a one-year deal.
Hopes, the Heat’s foundation captain of four seasons, will step away from a leadership role for the Heat to concentrate on his on-field performance.
The 36-year-old will enter his 15th season with Queensland this year, set play his 100th first-class games for the Bulls.
A veteran of 84 one-day and 12 T20 internationals for Australia, Hopes was the Heat’s second-highest wicket-taker and finished with the team’s best economy rate in BBL04.
He is also coming off back-to-back Sheffield Shield seasons as the Bulls’ leading wicket-taker.
Having also stepped down as Queensland captain, Hopes has entered 2015-16 pre-season training, looking forward to working with and developing the next crop of Heat stars.
“Captaining your club and state is obviously a huge honour and privilege, but it was definitely my time to hand the reins over to someone else. Being able to concentrate purely on training has been a different feeling to recent seasons, but it has allowed me to prepare with a sense of freedom I haven’t had for a while.
“The body is feeling really fresh after a restful off-season, and I’m looking to pressing my case for selection across all formats and, hopefully, pushing for trophies with both the Heat and Bulls.”
New Heat coach Daniel Vettori said re-signing Hopes had been one of his priorities since taking charge, paying tribute to the positive influence his former teammate would have on younger members of the squad.
“I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of with James over the last few seasons as part of the Brisbane Heat. On the field, he has the kind of cool head needed to be a good T20 player …”
The Heat begin their BBL05 campaign on Saturday December 19 against the Melbourne Renegades at the Gabba.