“We think that Sam will slot in nicely. His strike rate at number four is 148 in T20 cricket, that’s outstanding. He’ll play a role that we need to bat around the power players like (Matthew) Wade, (Ben) McDermott and Tim David. He’s spot on for us.”
It seems Sam Hain may have another new home.
Accustomed to Edgbaston life, the ‘Hain Train’ is starting to reap his awards in the franchise game after impressing for many years in the English summer.
His admirer is Ricky Ponting. A legendary figure on the field, who’s also built an envious coaching resume which currently includes the Delhi Capitals and his home state Hobart Hurricanes.
“He’s still Mr Ponting to me as I haven’t met him yet,” laughed Hain. “I can’t call him Punter just yet.
“I hadn’t read those comments, but I know I’ve got clarity at number four and how I want to go about my cricket.
“Last time I saw him in the flesh I was 15 and I was doing 12 man at Guildford and he was playing for Surrey. I was too scared to say hello to him, so it will be a cool experience to meet him.
“As a cricket badger, I’m looking forward to talking and working with him and getting into the insights of batting. He’s been around the game for so long and done incredible things so it’s a pinch-yourself moment.”
Nestled on the southern coast of Tasmania, which is also the furthest south state of Australia, Hobart is just shy of 11,000 miles away from Edgbaston. Interestingly, it’s still 1,500 miles away from the Gold Coast where Sam grew up.
Nevertheless, the new environment is something that the 28-year-old is really looking forward to.
And whether it was the Hurricanes, the Heat or even someone else, Hain is grateful for the opportunity, having been selected in the second round of the BBL draft.
“There were so many cricketers who entered their name into the draft, so I feel quite fortunate that Hobart has taken a chance on me,” added Hain.
“I’m going to embrace it, especially as I feel incredibly lucky for this new opportunity to showcase my skills. Drafts can be fickle at times and I’m using this as a blessing. It’s another winter to showcase what I can do.
“There’s always a few nerves going into a new dressing room, but I’m not going in trying to be someone I’m not. I know quite a few people around the Hurricanes as I went to school with Ben McDermott and Billy Stanlake and Sam Hazlett was at the Heat last year.
“I’ve obviously met Chris Jordan (another draftee) around the circuit and Matthew Wade was a Bear for the T20, so it does make it slightly easier when you know people.
“I haven’t been there for a few years, but it’ll be a nice change from Brisbane. I’m still planning to see Mom and Dad and they’ll come down to Hobart. I think the last time I was there for an extended period was with the Lions, so I’m excited to see what the place is all about.”
With the tournament already underway, Hobart play their first game of ten on Monday against the Sixers (8.15 GMT).
In what feels like a more condensed schedule, the Hurricanes will be desperate to add their first BBL title, having been runners-up twice.
Speaking before his departure, Hain admits he knows the pressures around the tournament, but it’s something he’ll embrace.
The right-hander, who played nine matches for the Heat last winter, has carefully planned his winter programme ahead of the competition.
“The season finished at the end of September and to be honest I was quite tired at the end of it,” admitted Hain. “I felt I needed that break and a bit of a refresher, but to be honest I felt ready a week-and-a-half ago.
“The older I’ve got, I understand the balance between feeling you’re ready and just hitting for the sake of it. A lot of the work is programmed as it all changes when you’re back outside. I’ll start thinking about how I want to play my cricket, where I’m looking to score, so a lot of the work is away from technical practice.
“I’m excited to experience another Big Bash, to see my mom and dad and see some friends. It’s a new environment, a new team, but there are some familiar faces within it and I want to take this opportunity.”
And the opportunities after?
“I’m in ILT20 and touchwood there’s a few more opportunities with the Lions and PSL,” concluded Hain.
“But to be honest it all feels a long way away. There’s still a danger that with all the opportunities available over the winter you can play too much. I’ve still got a full season for the Bears and I don’t want to be burnt out by early April.
“Playing for the Bears means everything to me and I’ve got to make sure I weigh up all the opportunities that come my way.”
Four Teams. Two Matches. Blast Off is back!
Vitality Blast Off is back and the Bears will launch their home T20 campaign with a huge men’s double-header featuring two big Midlands rivalry games.
Taking place on Saturday 1 June, Derbyshire Falcons host Leicestershire Foxes (2.30pm) before the Bears take on Notts Outlaws (6.30pm).
Tickets are on sale now at our Super Early Bird prices.