McCullum signs for Brisbane Heat in BBL

Brisbane Heat have pulled off a massive coup, signing New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum for the next three Big Bash League seasons.

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The opening batsman will return to Brisbane this summer to work with Heat coach and former Black Caps teammate Daniel Vettori.

After finishing with the wooden spoon last season, the side will hope McCullum can bring some of the drive that took the Kiwis all the way to World Cup final before losing to Australia.

Coming off a solid Indian Premier League campaign with the Chennai Super Kings, the 33-year-old said he was keen to play more Twenty20 cricket.

It will be McCullum’s second stint with the Heat, having played three matches in the BBL’s inaugural 2011-12 season, when Australian pacemen Brett Lee broke his nose with a bouncer.

“Apart from Brett Lee breaking my nose in the first ever game, I enjoyed the experience of being part of the inaugural year when it was all a bit unknown and there was a lot of excitement and buzz about the BBL,” McCullum said.

“The competition has really developed quickly since then and, from what I have seen, the standard is right up there with the best in the world.

“When Dan broached the idea of a longer-term deal, I was pretty open to things – my wife comes from Lismore and our family have spent a fair bit of time over there during the past few years.”

Vettori said McCullum’s availability for the upcoming season would be determined once playing schedules were finalised.

“I’m as aware as anyone that Baz has international commitments to juggle, but we’re looking forward to seeing him back in teal during the season,” he said.

“I know Darren Lehmann really valued his input during that first season when it was all new and we were putting things together, and I’ve no doubt that our current playing group will enjoy what he has to offer in terms of his experience, leadership and on-field success.”

The Heat have 11 players locked in for the next BBL season, with West Indian legspinner and the ICC’s No.1-ranked T20 bowler Samuel Badree the other international signing.