Brisbane Heat will rise to Big Bash challenge
Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn believes his team will still play exciting, attacking cricket in the Big Bash League despite missing its main aggressor for the tournament - New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum.
McCullum signed a three-year contract with the BBL 02 champions, but international commitments will prevent him from playing in this summer's fifth edition of the T20 tournament.
The Heat players will look to put last summer's disappointing last-place finish behind them by starting their 2015/16 campaign with a win over the Melbourne Renegades in their season-opener at the Gabba this Saturday night.
The Renegades have dynamic batsmen Aaron Finch and Chris Gayle, and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
But Lynn believes his side can still be a force without McCullum, who on his day is one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket.
"It was disappointing Brendon McCullum wasn't able to be here this year, but I'll try to bring his philosophies through (head coach) Dan Vettori and (bowling coach) Shane Bond (both former Black Caps players) to the playing group," Lynn said.
"And that is an aggressive style of cricket.
"We've got to be prepared to lose a game to win a game, and we'll take that throughout the tournament."
While the Heat has lost one swashbuckling batsman, it has gained another in Lendl Simmons, the West Indian who was a key member of Ricky Ponting's champion Mumbai Indians team in the Indian Premier League.
Simmons, the nephew of West Indies coach Phil Simmons, was the equal second leading run-scorer for the competition with 540 runs, 22 behind Australian star David Warner.
The Heat will also benefit from another West Indian, the world's second-ranked T20 spinner, Samuel Badree.
"They've both got that X-factor to win games," Lynn said.
"Hopefully we don't put too much pressure on them and the local boys can step up and we can make the semis."
Meanwhile, Lynn said he would be happy either way if Joe Burns stayed with his side or if he kept his spot in the Australian Test team. The Aussies will play the West Indies in the second Test starting on Boxing Day.
Burns has a solid T20 average over 22, with a strike rate of 120.69, and is set to play in the top order against the Renegades.
"We like to see guys in the Test side and Joe Burns is one of those blokes," Lynn said.
"I think Joe's found a really good combination with David Warner (opening for Australia).
"Those two have clicked together and they've complemented each other.
"I've got full faith in Joe that he'll be there for a long time."