Heat red-hot favourites after AB signing
BRISBANE are red-hot favourites to take out BBL09 and earn their second title after AB De Villiers' signing saw bookies flock to the Heat's new star power on Tuesday.
Online bookmaker Ladbrokes had previously installed Hobart hurricanes at $5 front-runners after dominating last year's regular season with Brisbane at $7 but the Heat's pre-season coup saw them pull the Tasmanian side back to $5.50, installing De Villiers' Brisbane at $5 favourites.
It's a ringing endorsement of the South African's class as Brisbane look to end a seven-year drought and skipper Chris Lynn is confident De Villiers will bring the Heat in his long-awaited Big Bash debut.
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"It's probably the biggest signing in BBL history in my opinion and what he's going to bring not only to Brisbane but also the competition is something we've been chasing for a number of years now," Lynn said.
"Obviously with Brendan (McCullum) retiring last year, it's basically a clean swap with AB and we're looking forward to not only what he can do on the field, we know what we can do there, we're just looking for another experienced world class champion on the changeroom.
"AB's twice as experienced as I am, so I can't tell him how to play the game but what i can tell him is how to get around Brisbane and look after him.
Playing alongside De Villiers is a dream come true for Lynn after a few post-game encounters during last year's Indian Premier League and the 29-year old is confident Brisbane will prove both a happy club and home for his newest recruit.
"For us, it's about keeping him and his family happy and making sure it's not only a one-year deal - it's three or four years."
"He's very similar to a number of players in our team, we're very relaxed and there's that more-to-life attitude from him and I think that's why we're going to see the best of him come out ... and really entertain the Brisbane fans."
Heat teammate Max Bryant might have something to say about De Villiers' automatic qualification for Bash Brother status after fighting his way into contention last year but Lynn says it's a matter of runs on the board.
"I think the fact he was one of my heroes growing up means he can have a free pass into the Bash brothers," Lynn said.
"We all know what he can do on the field but for me it's what he can bring to the changeroom away from the game and the attitude and self-belief that he brings."
As for being able to match their big-hitting exploits?
"Well, it takes a special kind to hit it out of the gabb but if he can clear the ropes it doesn't matter," Lynn joked.