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Banton heading to Australia with Brisbane Heat

Brisbane Heat have announced the signing of Somerset’s Tom Banton for this winter’s KFC Big Bash League campaign.

Banton, still just 20 years of age, will travel to Australia following the conclusion of England’s T20 tour of New Zealand in November and will be available for the first 8 matches during the 2019 edition of the tournament.

His 549 runs in this year’s Vitality Blast were bettered only by his opening partner Babar Azam (578). He also hit a memorable maiden T20 hundred against Kent in August, which helped him to scoop the PCA Young Player of the Year and Cricket Writers’ Club Young Cricketer of the Year awards last week. The 20-year-old also hit 454 runs at 41.27 to help Somerset win the Royal London One-Day Cup at Lord’s in May.

After the announcement, Tom said: “If you had asked me at the start of the summer would I imagine it going like this, I would have probably had a laugh and suggested you weren’t serious.’’

“I was blown away when it was announced last week that AB de Villiers was coming to join the Heat so what was already going to be a huge experience just got bigger.”

“I’m really looking forward to coming to Brisbane and seeing what Queensland has to offer after previously playing club cricket in Perth when I was younger. I’ve watched a fair bit of the BBL at home and it is a quality competition with so many outstanding players. I can’t wait to be honest.”

Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann said Banton’s recruitment had been a high priority.

“He was the talk of English cricket during their season,’’ he said. “Outside the Ashes, Tom was the player that a lot of people were really excited to be watching, and with good reason.”

“He’s a lovely striker of the ball and has that wide and varied range of shots you need to make the most of the early overs in the power play or to accelerate the scoring through the middle and back half of an innings.”

“The prospect of pairing him alongside some of our young batsmen like Max Bryant, his mate Matt Renshaw and Sam Heazlett is pretty enticing, that’s for sure. But we know Tom will also benefit from playing and being around the likes of Chris Lynn, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting and Marnus Labuschagne as he takes steps to expand his skills and experience in Australian conditions.”

“He’s joining us for the first half of the tournament but we’re hopeful he will have some time to catch-up with AB de Villiers at some point as that would be a great opportunity as part of his experience with the Heat.”

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