Sam Hain admits the opportunity to play in front of his mom and dad was the driving force behind his decision to sign for the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash.
The 27-year-old, who grew up on the Gold Coast, has signed as an international replacement player and is expected to fill in for one of Sam Billings or Colin Munro, who are due to represent Brisbane until early January.
“I’m really looking forward to having my mom and dad in the stands,” said Hain. “They would love to see more of me at Warwickshire, but this will be the next best thing.
Hain’s story is well told. A promising teenager with the bat, Hain played for Queensland and Australia at youth level before moving to Edgbaston nine years ago, following a recommendation by former Warwickshire captain Michael Powell for a trial.
It was a gutsy decision that instantly reaped its rewards when in 2014, he hit four first-class hundreds as a teenager. Warwickshire will be forever grateful, Queensland rues their loss.
“Sam was a very talented young player and I know a lot of us at Queensland Cricket were sorry to see him go when he made his call to pursue his options in England,” said Wade Seccombe, Hain’s coach in the Queensland Under-19s setup that claimed the national title in 2011/12. “It will be a great fit to have him back in the group. His playing experience is excellent, especially as a white-ball player who knows how to control an innings and make good decisions in the middle.”
Fast forward nine years and Hain has gone full circle. Wade is now the Heat head coach, whilst players such as Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Swepson, who were teammates in the early years remain core pieces.
“It’s always something I’ve wanted to do weirdly,” the right-hander added. “To come back and play for the team of where I went to school and learnt my cricket will be special.
“I know a few of the lads from when I was younger and having watched the Big Bash growing up I know how big the tournament is. So, when I missed out in the draft, I was in regular contact with Wade and I expressed my desire to come back.”
The Big Bash journey may not start until after Christmas, but for Hain, preparations are well on the way. Having injured his hamstring during the latter part of the campaign, Hain is close to full fitness and netting with the Heat, who kickstart their campaign this week.
The Bears leading T20 run scorer returned to the Australian west coast following the dramatic win over Hampshire to attend Josh Poysden’s wedding, as well as enjoy some personal family time with his English-born parents.
“I was chatting with mom and dad and it’s been four years since I’ve been back here,” the England Lion added. “I didn’t realise it was that long, so I’m trying to enjoy each day because you know these moments don’t come along too often.
“I’ve had a couple of weddings, spent some time with family and friends and it’s fun to see everyone. I got away from cricket, which was nice, and I think that little break was probably what I needed after what was a long season.
“But I’ve just started to get back into it last week following my hamstring tear. In my head I can play cricket tomorrow and, as we’re nine weeks post-injury, I’m nearly there.
“Mark Robinson tells me I’m not Peter Pan anymore and I need to take care of myself as I’m not getting younger! I’ve tried to do that and make sure everything’s right because the last thing I want is for an opportunity to be taken away.
“I’ve been chatting to the physios at Edgbaston and I appreciate the help and trust that they have in me. I’ve been doing everything in my power to give myself the best possible chance of being fit as it’s a massive opportunity and one I won’t take lightly.”
Four Teams. Two Matches. It’s Blast Off!
2023 Vitality Blast competition is set to start in spectacular style with a new double-header at Edgbaston Stadium on Saturday 20 May.
Blast Off will see Bears host Yorkshire Vikings and Derbyshire Falcons host Lancashire Lightning as part of an action-packed day of T20 entertainment. Early Bird tickets are on sale now from £25.