Sabburg set for heat of Big Bash challenge
GATTON product Chris Sabburg has won the battle for the final Brisbane Heat Big Bash League contract.
The Toombul all-rounder was named as the 18th contracted player for the Heat following the third and final round of the KFC T20 Challenge at Ashgrove on Sunday.
A left-handed batsman and right-arm off-spin bowler, Sabburg is a former Queensland youth player who has also appeared for the Queensland Academy of Sport at Futures League level.
He learned his cricket in Toowoomba, is the nephew of Ipswich's former Queensland fast bowler Dirk Tazelaar and is a cousin of Laidley product Andy Bichel.
Sabburg, 22, played for the Flames in the T20 Challenge, scoring 23 off 20 balls on Sunday. The Flames lost to the overall winners, the Country Inferno, led by Ipswich and Central Districts all-rounder Ben O'Connell.
"It's a big thrill for the country boys," O'Connell said of the title win.
"It obviously matters a lot to those guys to play in this competition and represent the country.
"It was up to the country boys to put their hand up today, and they did."
O'Connell hit 39 not out from 29 balls in his team's 160, before the Inferno bowled the Flames out for 102.
It wasn't enough to earn the Queensland Country captain a coveted Heat contract.
Heat coach Darren Lehmann said Sabburg had caught his eye last season in the KFC T20 Challenge and had done so again this year.
"He was pretty handy last season but I liked the way he batted in the first round in partnership with Chris Lynn, and then in the second round, took a brilliant outfield catch, so that reinforced to me that he has something to offer," Lehmann said.
"The Queensland selectors told me he had to bat in a challenging situation and again handled himself pretty well so I was happy to go with that.
"The competition has tossed up some very useful players again this season, and I know the state selectors have enjoyed the chance to see some of these blokes playing at this level."
Sabburg came to light two seasons ago with innings of 80 off 54 balls and 86 off 55 balls in a pair of Premier Grade T20 matches.
Although predominantly a left-hand bat and right-arm off-spin bowler, he can also bat right-handed and bowl left-arm spin.
Heat squad: Dan Vettori (international), Alister McDermott, Nathan Hauritz, Dan Christian, Ryan Harris, Ben Cutting, Luke Pomersbach, Chris Lynn, Joe Burns, James Hopes, Chris Hartley, Shane Watson, Kemar Roach (international), Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Mitchell Johnson, Andrew Robinson, Chris Sabburg and Dale Steyn (international).