CHRIS Sabburg was a spectator in the stands when the Brisbane Heat played the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League showdown at the Gabba last year.
The 22-year-old left-handed batsman and right-arm off-spin bowler now has a chance to be playing in the competition this season.
The Toombul all-rounder has put pen to paper to be the 18th and final contracted player for the Queensland franchise.
Sabburg, the nephew of former Queensland fast bowler Dirk Tazelaar and a cousin of Bulls legend Andy Bichel, secured his contract despite playing on a losing team after the Flames lost against the Country Inferno in the third and final round of the T20 Challenge at Valley's home ground in Ashgrove on Sunday.
The former Queensland Youth and Queensland Academy of Sport representative scored 23 off 20 balls, but the disappointment of losing was eased after Heat selectors told him he'd done enough to earn a contract.
"There have been a lot of good performances in the competition so I certainly didn't expect them to announce me," he said.
"I played in the curtain-raiser to the Heat game against the Stars last year and stayed on for the match, which was a great experience as a fan, so to be a part of it now as a player is a bit of a dream come true."
Heat coach Darren Lehmann said Sabburg had caught his eye last season in the same T20 Challenge and had done so again this year.
"He was pretty handy last season, but I liked the way he batted in the first round in partnership with Chris Lynn, and then in the second round, took a brilliant outfield catch, so that reinforced to me that he has something to offer," Lehmann said.
The Heat will open its BBL campaign against the Ricky Ponting-led Hobart Hurricanes at the Gabba on Sunday.
Heat squad: Dan Vettori, Alister McDermott, Nathan Hauritz, Dan Christian, Ryan Harris, Ben Cutting, Luke Pomersbach, Chris Lynn, Joe Burns, James Hopes, Chris Hartley, Shane Watson, Kemar Roach, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Mitchell Johnson, Andrew Robinson, Chris Sabburg and Dale Steyn.
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