Queensland batsman Matthew Renshaw has been granted leave by the Strikers to sign a three-year deal with the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL).
In a moment of great understanding, the Strikers released the 24-year-old from his contract so he could return home to Brisbane for the arrival of his first child in December.
In an interview with brisbaneheat.com.au today, he expressed his gratitude to the Strikers.
“It was not an easy discussion to have by any means, and I have nothing but gratitude for the professional and considerate way Jason Gillespie and Tim Nielsen at the SACA went about making their decision when I approached them about a release,’’ he said.
“It’s a very exciting time for Josie [his wife] and I, and we wanted to be able to share that with our families at home in Brisbane when the baby comes.”
Once seen solely as a long-form opener, in the 2021-22 BBL season, Renshaw started to show his versatility. He averaged 34 batting at number three and recorded two 50s playing the anchor role for the team.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Strikers. I have a lot of good mates there and enjoyed the environment that the club provided for us.
“I wish them all the best for the coming season and take plenty of positives away from my time in Adelaide,” he said.
From Brisbane's perspective, his signing represents a significant boon as they look to begin life without their long-time leader of Chris Lynn.
The ex-Test batsman is coming off representing Australia A in Sri Lanka in June and a largely successful county stint where he had the opportunity to captain Somerset.
In the English summer, he finished with 620 county runs at 48.37 and 271 runs at 38.71 in one-day cricket.
Heat coach, Wade Seccombe, expressed his excitement about the return.
“We’re grateful for the understanding shown by the Strikers,’’ he said. “We’re all in a competitive environment but is very heartening to know we can put that aside and come together to help each other out.”
“We’re excited to welcome Matthew home. We’ve been delighted to see him develop and grow as a player and a person with Queensland and this opportunity to bring him into the Heat was ideal for all of us,’’ he said.
Some may be hoping that Renshaw is soon unable to play every game for the Heat, however, as calls for a test recall gain momentum. While Khawaja and Warner look fairly fixed as openers, Renshaw's proven ability to also play down the order may mean a return happens sooner than expected.
Seccombe understood this possibility.
“He’s not far away from making a return to the national team in our opinion, and the fact he has produced good performances while filling a variety of roles for the teams he has played in shows he has the skills and the mental toughness to go much further with his cricket.”
Overall, he presents a strong mix of leadership and potential for the Heat as they look to improve on a disappointing 7th place last season.