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Shadab a 'real weapon' for Heat

28 October 2017

Teenage leg-spinner poised to make a major impact for the Brisbane Heat in BBL|07

Head coach Daniel Vettori believes new recruit Shadab Khan is set to be a "real weapon" for Brisbane Heat as they look to claim a second KFC Big Bash title this summer. 

The Heat will be without star leg-spinner Samuel Badree in BBL|07, however Vettori, who signed a new two-year deal with the franchise last week, insists the all-round package Shadab brings will more than make up for the West Indian's absence. 

"Shadab has proven himself in a lot of conditions so far, and the thing we're most looking forward to is his all-round game as well," Vettori said. 

"I think people probably underappreciate him as a batsman and as a fielder. For us, having 11 players who can contribute in all facets is really important."

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Shadab is only 19 but has already represented Pakistan in all three formats, shining in limited-overs matches particularly. 

Vettori, a legendary tweaker in his own right, has been forced to rely on television footage and the word of others, most notably Heat captain and fellow Black Caps great Brendon McCullum, for an insight into the young leggie. 

"So far, not a lot of people have picked him," he said. "I haven't seen him bowl live, I've just watched everything from the footage. 

"But talking to batsmen around the world, Brendon (McCullum) played with him in the PSL and over in the CPL, and he was saying a lot of batsmen had trouble picking him early on. 

"He's got a lot of energy and he bowls at a good pace that will suit the Gabba wicket, much like Badree. That pace they're able to bowl allows them to control and also be attacking, so if he cancombine those two things, then we've got a real weapon through those middle stages."

Vettori said the addition of Shadab, in conjunction with promising Queensland leg-spinner Mitch Swepson, as well as part-timer Marnus Labuschagne and even Joe Burns, all played into the Heat strategy that has been formulated in his time at the club. 

"The plan from us, ever since I've been here, has been to try and get as many spin overs in as possible" he said. 

"Particularly at the Gabba, because it is a tough place for fast bowlers to bowl."

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The Heat earned a home final last season on the strength of their away form, losing that match in a Super Over to be eliminated from the tournament. It was one of four defeats suffered at the Gabba, with just one win. 

Vettori said this summer's expanded schedule gives his side a chance to refocus on their consistency. 

"With 10 games you get more of an opportunity to take out the variables," he said. "Our goal is to be consistent, and be more consistent at the Gabba; we were probably more an away team last year. 

"So to get that ability to come here and understand how to win more often will be a real challenge, and five games takes some of the randomness out of it."

Brisbane kick off their campaign against Melbourne Stars at the Gabba on December 20. 

Brisbane Heat BBL|07 squad (so far): Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Jason Floros, Sam Heazlett, Shadab Khan (International), Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum (International, Captain), Jimmy Peirson, Alex Ross, Mitchell Swepson, Mark Steketee.

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Brisbane Heat BBL

Shadab Khan