Amelia Kerr signs with Brisbane Heat

Amelia Kerr has signed with Brisbane Heat. © Brisbane Heat

Amelia Kerr, the 18-year-old leg-spinner from New Zealand, has signed with defending champions Brisbane Heat for the fifth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia. The franchise made the announcement via  a press release on Sunday (August 25).

“I’ve watched it regularly at home and was seriously impressed at the way the Heat won the title last year,’’ said Kerr, shortly after the announcement. “A lot of the White Ferns players have had the chance to play in the WBBL and I know it is highly regarded around the world. Now I have the chance to play and I’m confident it’s going to be a great experience.”

Kerr is one of the most exciting young talents on the international circuit at the moment. She has played 29 ODIs and 24 T20Is, while also having already made appearances in domestic T20 leagues in England and India. This will, however, be her first experience in the WBBL.

The allrounder, who will turn 19 before the event begins, boasts of the highest international score in women’s ODIs— an unbeaten 232 against Ireland. She was only 17 years and 243 days old— the youngest player, male or female, to score a double hundred. She backed up her performance with the bat that day, by picking up her maiden five-for as well.

Having burst on to the international scene at the age of 16, Kerr has taken 70 wickets in her international career so far. She was named New Zealand’s ODI Cricketer of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

Most recently, Kerr played a vital role in the final of the Women’s T20 Challenge in India. Coming in to bat with her team precariously placed at 37 for 5, Kerr scored an enterprising 36, and shared a 71-run stand for the sixth wicket with Sushma Verma to lead Velocity to a competitive total of 121 for 6. She also picked up two big wickets— Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur— to take the team in purple to the brink of a win.

The leg-spinner is Heat’s first overseas signing for the season. She will join the likes of Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Delissa Kimmince, Grace Harris, Kirby Short and Sammy-Jo Johnson in the squad.

Kerr hails from a sporting family, which partly explains her prodigious talent. Bruce Murray, her grandfather, played 13 Tests for New Zealand, and also more than 100 First-Class games. Both her parents, mother Jo, and father Robbie, represented Wellington, while her older sister, Jess, also plays for Wellington.

The  allrounder has spent the week in Brisbane training on turf with the Queensland Fire squad and attended Sunday’s Brisbane Heat Opening Day at Allan Border Field.

“Anyone who has followed cricket would be aware that Amelia is a pretty special talent,’’ said Ashley Noffke, Heat’s head coach, following the announcement. “We’ve enjoyed having her with the Queensland Fire squad this week and she demonstrated quite quickly how focused and determined she is.”

“It’s exciting to welcome her into our club and we’re looking forward to seeing her in action when the season gets underway soon.”

Heat will begin their title defence against Sydney Sixers, in a repeat of last year’s final, at North Sydney Oval on October 19.