Ben Laughlin joined the Heat this season. Picture: AAP
Ben Laughlin joined the Heat this season. Picture: AAP

Laughlin: I had the talent to do better

Ben Laughlin has taken more wickets than any BBL player and at the ripe old age of 37 he is still a key member of the Brisbane Heat attack.

And he is as athletic as ever, regularly taking fantastic catches and saving valuable runs on the rope.

Find out more about the Big Bash stalwart, including his international career, his move from the Strikers and dismissing soon-to-be teammate AB de Villiers.

 

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Ben Laughlin is the leading Big Bash wicket taker.
Ben Laughlin is the leading Big Bash wicket taker.

Ben Laughlin

Brisbane Heat bowler

Age: 37

105 Big Bash wickets

Favourite food?

Steak and veg - I'm pretty simple.

Best cricket ground?

Can I say the Adelaide Oval? It's a stunning venue, everything is perfect.

Do with your last $10?

I'm pretty tight, I'd probably splurge on a coffee and invest the rest.

How are you finding life at the Brisbane Heat after spending the past five Big Bash seasons in Adelaide?

It's been really good. It's different to what I'm used to, being able to get home and not stuck in a hotel the whole time. It's been a positive. I've been able to rekindle some old relationships.

 

You had to be released from your contract with the Strikers, did you think Adelaide would let you go?

They've been really good along the journey. Last year was challenging, I had a newborn bub and a toddler. I flew home an extra six times last year and it took its toll. They were always really good with that. They were disappointed I wanted to leave but were great during the process.

 

You're a carpenter by trade. Are you still on the tools?

Not since I moved to Noosa just over two years ago. I've been plugging around our house, there's always a bit to do, but I'm not working for anyone. I'm enjoying these last couple of years of cricket. I'll get back into it once it's all finished. We should have moved here earlier. We love the lifestyle and bringing the kids up there.

 

Laughlin has been electric in the field in BBL09.
Laughlin has been electric in the field in BBL09.

 

Does the family travel with you?

We had our first family trip to the New Year's Day game on the Gold Coast. My wife was ready to go home after four days but our three-year-old Olly is addicted to cricket. He loves it. He loves the boys and whacking cricket balls. He comes to the games.

 

You played five one-day internationals and three T20 matches for Australia between 2009-13, how do you rate your international career?

I got a taste early on in my career. It was the end of my first year I got picked to go on an Aussie tour. I got caught in the spotlights a bit and didn't really understand what was going on. I played with guys like Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey. I was a bit annoyed I didn't really grab my opportunity. I had the talent to do better than I did in those games. But I was grateful to get the opportunity.

 

You dismissed South African superstar AB de Villiers twice. Will you remind him when he arrives in Brisbane next week to play for the Heat?

I got him in my first T20 international. I'll let him know that. He hit a half-volley straight to cover. It wasn't the greatest ever ball but I'll take it.

 

Was that your most memorable moment?

It's all a bit of a blur. I'm more drawn to when we won the Big Bash with the Strikers (2017-18). That's my best memory, even the semi-final as I was a bit more involved. The feelings and emotions around that were pretty amazing.

 

You've played in the Big Bash since it started in 2011-12. How has the competition changed?

It's such a polished product now. Early on it was a bit of hit and giggle. Now we sit through so much data before games, training, schedules and diets. It's a really elite setup. The talent and boys coming through keeps getting better.

 

You're the Big Bash's all-time leading wicket-taker with 105 scalps. Did you ever see yourself cracking the ton?

Not really until I was in the nineties. It was a nice milestone. I might reflect on it in years to come. Now we're playing at least 14 games a year a lot of the boys will be getting there.

 

You've been pretty active around the T20 circuit in recent years, what are your plans this year?

I had seven months off last year then played in the Caribbean Premier League and the T10 tournament in Abu Dhabi. You put yourself in all the lotteries and see if your name gets called out. At this stage I've got nothing coming up. I'll be chilling out at Noosa and getting the body ready for the next Big Bash.

 

 

What's life like as a T20 specialist?

It's a bit hard to plan the year when you're like me. Blokes like Lynny (Chris Lynn) who are more sought after have their deals in place. I wait for the auctions or for something to pop up. With the age I'm at (37), I've played a fair bit. I'm enjoying having time at home with the boys and not going away for too long.

 

So it's not the end of the world if you don't pick up contracts?

It's lovely to feel wanted, but spending time at home with the boys is probably more enjoyable.

 

You're not the fastest bowler but you've had a lot of success in T20 cricket, what's your secret?

I don't really know. I'm a cricket tragic. I love watching it and trying to work out plans. That holds me in good stead. The way I bowl with my action suits the white ball more than the red ball. I've got a lower arm and an off-cutter which I've always had. It lines up to be a perfect world. I lost it a bit when I tried to become a better red ball player so I decided to focus on the white ball.

 

The Heat started slow but you've won your past three games - is the team clicking?

We're getting our formula and how we go about games. We are a lot better than at the start. It's a new model we weren't used to and we're getting our head around it. Our team will change a bit over the next couple of weeks with Patto (James Pattinson) and Burnsy (Joe Burns) back then AB and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) coming. It's nice to keep evolving but we're playing some good cricket.

 

The Heat signed you on a two-year deal - will you definitely be back next summer?

I'm in. I'm loving it. As long as my body doesn't pull the plug I'll keep going until no-one wants me. It's good fun.

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News Corp Australia


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