Why humbled Heat are backing current leaders to come good
CHRIS Lynn will remain captain of the Heat and coach Darren Lehmann is in no danger of being sacked after Brisbane bombed out of the Big Bash League.
The Heat's disappointing BBL09 campaign came to an end at Marvel Stadium on Monday when they were bundled out of the tournament by wooden spooners Melbourne Renegades.
The Heat finished the 2019-20 tournament second-last (7th) on the ladder with a 6-8 record and lost five of seven home games.
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They have not featured in the BBL playoffs since 2016-17 and Brisbane's sole title came in 2012-13, the second staging of the Twenty20 tournament.
The Heat went into this summer as title favourites after snaring the signature of South African legend AB de Villiers for the back end of the competition.
But not even one of the world's best T20 players could help Brisbane qualify for the finals as they slipped further down the ladder following last summer's fifth-placed finish.
The Heat parted ways with coach Dan Vettori after last summer and reunited with former Australia coach Lehmann, who oversaw the Heat's successful 2012-13 campaign, on a two-year contract.
Heat general manager Andrew McShea said the franchise was happy with Lehmann and backed him for 2020-21.
"Darren came back to the club and we were over the moon with how he's handled himself and the last month or two," he said.
"Someone of his experience and the way he mentors the players on and off the field has been exceptional.
"Everyone is hurting after a season that had so much promise.
"We've got to look forward and we'll do that straight away."
Despite some of their performances, the Heat were only one win away from finishing fourth and securing a home elimination final.
But they were unable to beat the lowly Renegades after poor batting cruelled them once again.
The Heat suffered numerous batting collapses throughout the summer, none worse than a record 10-36 debacle against the Renegades at the Gabba last week.
Lynn, who finished 10th in the tournament's top runscorers (387), regularly came under fire and his two summers as captain since taking over from Brendon McCullum have produced lean results.
"He sets himself some very high standards and puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform and be a great captain as well," McShea said.
"That's not something that's easy to do. We are 100 per cent behind him.
"He is a great man. He is going to continue to learn and be better for the experience."
Lynn wasn't the only Brisbane batsman to struggle, with Joe Burns, Jimmy Peirson, Sam Heazlett, Max Bryant, Ben Cutting and de Villiers producing less than they would have hoped.
Former Test opener Matt Renshaw scored 348 runs in a breakout tournament.
The Heat's bowlers were a shining light after previously being the club's weak point.
Josh Lalor, Mitch Swepson and James Pattinson improved on last summer and Afghani spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Zahir Khan were excellent during their stints.
The bowlers only once conceded more than 200 runs and regularly gave Brisbane a shot at victory, only for the batting to crumble.
"The bowlers should be proud of how they performed, they certainly did what we were hoping to do," McShea said.
"There are elements of all three facets (batting, bowling and fielding) that we'll look at.
"There were a number of games where we were in a really strong position and lost. That was the difference in the end."
The Heat lost three of five games at the Gabba and both home matches they took to Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
The nature of some of the losses were hard to cop for Heat tragics and McShea said the players were grateful for the support.
"We're lucky enough to see what happens at other venues and I've got to say our fans are unbelievable," he said.
"That's the reason why we're all hurting so much. We've disappointed the fans and not been able to give them the success they were hoping for.
"The fans have been so good and passionate. They show up all the time. They are the best in the country.
"It's disappointing we couldn't put it together for them."