Warwick quick fires set to bring the heat to the Big Bash
CRICKET: Warwick fast-bowler Mark Steketee will relish the prospect of taking the new ball against master blasters Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch in what could be an explosive start to the Big Bash League.
The Big Bash League ignites tonight with the Sydney derby between the Thunder and Sixes which will mark the start of a big month of Twenty20 action.
The Brisbane Heat will have to wait until Saturday to start their campaign when they host the Melbourne Renegades at the Gabba. Brisbane has an abundance of seamers to pick from during the BBL and Steketee was in that group vying for a place in the line-up for the first game.
Steketee has enjoyed strong form in the one-day and Sheffield Shield forms of the game this summer and was a genuine contender to line up against the Renegades.
He would also relish the opportunity to take the new ball against star Renegades opening batsmen Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch if given the chance by new captain Chris Lynn.
"You always enjoy the challenge up against them," Steketee said.
"If you are going to get them you want to get them early with the new ball.
"It is certainly a challenge and one I would certainly like to take on."
Steketee has played for the Heat in the past two BBL seasons and was keen to help the squad do better than last summer, when Brisbane collected the wooden spoon.
The 21-year-old right-arm quick conceded "we weren't up to standard last season" but wanted to prove the Heat were contenders, starting against the Renegades on Saturday.
"It would be nice to start with a win at home against the Renegades on Saturday night," he said.
"We are hoping to make the Gabba a fortress and win all of our games there and take what we can away."
The Heat have some new faces in their squad this summer, with West Indian batsman Lendl Simmons a key recruit, while former Test batsman Alex Doolan was another pick-up.
Seamers Luke Feldman, Andrew Fekete and Josh Lalor have also joined the likes of Steketee, Ben Cutting and James Hopes in the bowling ranks so new coach Daniel Vettori had plenty of options to choose from when deciding his pace arsenal.
That made for some competition for spots for Steketee and his fellow quicks.
"We have got some pretty good bowlers there so whoever takes the field will be pretty strong," said Steketee, who has taken nine BBL wickets in nine games at an average of 21.66 and economy rate of 7.91.
"There are quite a few seamers there so there is a bit of competition for spots."
Brisbane Heat BBL matches
Dec 19: v Renegades (h)
Dec 22: v Hobart (a)
Dec 26: v Perth (a)
Dec 29: v Hobart (h)
Jan 3: v Thunder (h)
Jan 8: v Adelaide (h)
Jan 10: v Sixers (a)
Jan 14: v Stars (a)