Star Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne was among the first people to congratulate good friend James Bazley after the all-rounder’s breakthrough Brisbane Heat performance on Monday night.
In his Heat debut, Bazley steadied Brisbane’s ship with an unbeaten 31 off 19 balls at the Gabba to guide his side to their first victory of the BBL season over the Hobart Hurricanes.
The 25-year-old’s moment in the spotlight was a long time coming after being sidelined for almost two full seasons with a groin injury.
Bazley was grateful for the support his former housemate Labuschagne – currently on Test duty in Melbourne – had given him along the way.
“We’ve known each other for a long time and been on the journey together, and he’s helped me a lot along the way, and I’m sure I’ve helped him along the way at times with a few things as well,” Bazley said.
“It’s very good to have someone like that to bounce off, to learn from and to train with, but just be really good friends with as well outside of cricket.
“He sent me a message (on Monday) night saying well done, which is awesome.”
Bazley said his maiden Heat innings was a “confidence booster”.
“The last couple of years has been really helpful for me learning my game. I’m a lot more mature as a person and a cricketer now,” he said.
“I needed to go through that down period of being thrown into the deep end, that kind of a sink or swim situation, and maybe not taking the most of those opportunities, and then doubting yourself a little bit.”
Bazley was also thankful for the on-field support of stand-in Heat captain Jimmy Peirson,
The pair combined for an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 50 to lift Brisbane off the bottom of the ladder.
“Jimmy was really good. He was really helpful for me,” Bazley said.
By a quirk of the draw, the Heat meet the Hurricanes again on Wednesday night, and again at the Gabba,
“If we can get a couple of wins now and get the ball rolling, it’s very helpful,” Bazley said.