Heat quick set to become Big Bash belter
THE Heat have a new big-hitting all-rounder with Brisbane's fastest bowler Jack Prestwidge ready to become the next Ben Cutting.
Prestwidge has fought back from a serious hamstring injury to declare he is ready for selection in Brisbane's opening game of the 2019-20 Big Bash League against the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba on December 17.
The strongly-built Prestwidge played five games as a bowler in his debut BBL season last summer, taking three wickets as the Heat mounted a late-season surge.
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But he has spent the off-season working on his batting and is ready to prove he is more than just a fast bowler this summer.
Cutting evolved from a fast bowler to powerful batting all-rounder capable of smacking huge sixes, even opening the batting for the Heat at times.
Prestwidge, 21, said his goal was to be a lower-order weapon for the Heat when Brisbane was in trouble.
"I've been working on my batting," Prestwidge said at Wednesday's BBL launch at Sea World.
"It will be tough to get into the top six, but batting seven and eight you're going to have chances to save the game.
"I'm looking to be that person. I want to be in a similar mould (to Cutting)."
Prestwidge has not been sighted this season after ripping his hamstring tendon off the bone.
Playing for Brisbane club side Norths, Prestwidge only lasted one ball in his first match of the season and has been sidelined for nearly three months.
"I've had a three-month hamstring injury, I tore my tendon off the bone basically," he said.
"It was my first first grade game of the season - literally the first ball of the day. I came in, slipped on the crease and heard a pop. It wasn't good.
"I didn't have surgery thankfully. I would have been out longer if I needed surgery.
"I'll get two games for Norths before the Big Bash starts and I'll be available for selection for that first game.
"I started in the nets last week. It's going to be a limited prep but you only need to bowl four overs in the Big Bash.
"I'm feeling good actually. I'm getting a bit of nervous energy out, the first week jitters."
With Brendan Doggett leaving the Heat and James Pattinson's availability uncertain due to Test selection, the Heat could be relying on Prestwidge to provide genuine pace.
Prestwidge is capable of bowling up to 150kmh and wants to be a versatile seamer for Brisbane alongside T20 specialist Ben Laughlin, who has linked with the Heat from Adelaide.
"I'd like to bowl the first overs and then at the death with Ben Laughlin," he said.
"It's quite tough at the Gabba, once batters are in it's tough to contain them.
"Having Ben Laughlin in will add some much needed experience for the boys."
While the Heat have added international stars AB de Villiers and Tom Banton to their batting ranks, they are set to be without Test batsmen Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne for a large part of the tournament.