First things first
Reigning KFC T20 Big Bash League the Brisbane Heat
head into the Karbonn Smart Champions League Twenty20 heavy on form but light on experience.
Only two of the 15 man squad have played CLT20 cricket though many have played on the sub-continent previously.
This will also be the first time the Heat will play under new coach Stuart Law after Darren Lehmann took over the national job on the eve of the Ashes.
Hit 'em hard, hit 'em straight
Brisbane will be without two of their main weapons with the bat in Shane Watson
and Luke Pomersbach
. Watson will feature during the tournament but in the royal blue of Rajasthan not the teal of the Heat. Pomersbach withdrew from the campaign for personal reasons, leaving the run-scoring duties to their solid middle order, which is capable of teeing off at any stage. The batting stocks will revolve around the old and the new, with young bucks Joe Burns and Chris Lynn supported by veterans James Hopes, Peter Forrest and Dan Christian.
Christian has the x-factor with the bat should the team need quick runs either chasing or setting a total. His signature lofted flick through mid-wicket has earned him plenty of runs throughout his career, especially in the IPL where he's suited up for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers. He also is one of two Heat players to have CLT20 experience, representing South Australia on eight occasions. A player with international credentials, Christian, along with Hopes and Forrest, will be in charge of getting runs on the board, and fast.
Off-speed slower-ball bouncers
It turns out variety is the spice of life (sorry to all the cumin fans out there) and that ingredient is certainly the method used in T20 cricket. The Heat will use the experience of Nathan Haurtiz
- the other player with Champions League knowledge - as its primary spin option. Not a big turner of the ball, Haurtiz's accuracy and wealth of cricket (17 Tests, 58 ODI's, 3 T20I's for Australia) will be called upon more and more as the tournament progresses.
Brisbane haven't hidden the fact that fast bowling is its strength, selecting plenty of pace to ruffle the feathers of their opponents. West Indian quick Kemar Roach
didn't have the fiery BBL|02 he was hoping for, until the final where he claimed three wickets in the victory over the Perth Scorchers
. His raw pace will liven up the slow dead tracks expected in India, and with the lengthy Ben Cutting
as his partner in crime, the two should find bounce if there is any.
All-rounders James Hopes and Dan Christian are both at that nagging 125-135kph range, relying on subtle changes of pace and variation in the wicket to restrict the guys at the other end. Hopes regularly opened the innings for the Heat when fit, providing calm and control in the first frantic six powerplay overs. The loss of Mitchell Johnson
to Mumbai stings a little considering the form he is in, but if you count the $300,000 compensation the Heat receive from losing two of its home players, it might not be so bad. The Heat have pace to burn and that's just how they like it.
Watch out for this guy
Once quoted as saying he's an off-spinner first and batsman second, 24-year-old Joe Burns could be the player to bring the silverware back to the Sunshine State. Touted by many as a future Test batsman, Burns' no-nonsense approach and fast hands could be just what is needed in India. Strong in all areas of the ground, the only real weakness is his occasional plundering mindset. Never content with just the one boundary off the over, Burns' temper/excitement can sometimes get the better of him. Anything full sets off the alarm bells, demanding punishment and only a four or six will suffice. If he can control that unbridled aggression, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, he could be in for one profitable series.
||Trinidad and Tobago
||Chennai Super Kings
Two foreign teams first then two IPL teams is a pretty good draw. Adapt to the conditions initially against opponents who are also unfamiliar with the surroundings, then take on the locals. Two losses and you're done in this competition, so starting well is important.
Where to next?
Follow all the Heat's movements via their Twitter account @HeatBBL