Melbourne: Daniel Vettori has become the Big Bash League`s first international signing for this season, agreeing to a three-year deal with the Brisbane Heat. The BBL contract window opened on Monday and the eight teams have a fortnight to lock in the majority of their players, which can include two from overseas, and all players are up for grabs having become free agents after the first BBL.
But Vettori was keen to continue his association with Brisbane and Queensland, which began when he turned out for the Bulls in the 2009-10 Big Bash. Last summer he returned to the Gabba, playing three games for the Brisbane Heat in between his commitments for Northern Districts in New Zealand`s Twenty20 tournament, which ran at the same time.
"I had a really good time last season," Vettori said. "They were a great bunch of blokes led by a top coach in Darren Lehmann and his support staff, which made for a very enjoyable environment to play cricket in. It was a pretty easy decision to make to come back. It`s another chance to play in front of the fans at the Gabba which is a great ground.
"It`s nice to have the security with the three-year deal. Knowing you can commit to the team and the fans for the next few seasons, it means you know where you are going to be and can plan around that. I`m looking forward to it."
Again this year, Vettori will juggle his responsibilities for Northern Districts with his BBL matches, which will mean regular flights between Australia and New Zealand. However, he said his preparation was not too badly affected last season and he believed he would be able to handle the dual commitments again.
"It was difficult at times but still manageable for me last season," Vettori said. "It doesn`t really affect your performance. You have to make sure you are prepared and up for every game when it comes around."
Darren Lehmann, the Brisbane Heat coach, said Vettori was an important member of the squad last season, when the Heat finished fifth and narrowly missed a place in the semi-finals.
"Dan showed last season his value for us," Lehmann said. "He`s a great leader on and off the field where he is always a highly motivated team member. As a coach, he`s the ultimate professional. I think he`s a wonderful fit for the Heat and would expect that he will perform an important role for us for the next few seasons."
BDST: 2019 HRS, July 9, 2012