Walter talks of “amazing” Big Bash experience


Newly-crowned Big Bash League champion Paul Walter has reflected on “an amazing six weeks” playing in the competition for Brisbane Heat.

Having topped the regular season table with seven wins from ten games, Walter’s Heat dethroned 2023 champions Sydney Sixers in the final at the SCG to secure their second BBL title.

“You obviously hope you’re going to win it when you turn up, but to actually do it was pretty special,” said Walter, whose 17 wickets made him the joint-third-most successful bowler in the competition.

“The best moment in the final was [Michael Neser’s] effort on the boundary for the ninth wicket. It was literally unbelievable,” he added.

“I was standing there watching it and I couldn’t believe he’d taken it and thrown it to me. That was probably the moment we knew we’d won.

“It was slightly different to what I’m used to, flying around playing in different states, but the club were amazing.

“The tournament built up as we went through, especially with getting on that winning streak early. It was amazing to be a part of, and hopefully we’ll be back next year!”

In winning the final, which the Heat did by 54 runs in the Sixers’ own home stadium, Walter completed a personal double, having also been named in the Team of the Tournament a week earlier.

With the second accolade being voted on by the eight teams’ coaches, it underlines how much those watching the tournament took Walter – or ‘Tall Paul’ – to their hearts during it.

“Literally, anywhere I was walking around in Brisbane, people were shouting ‘Tall Paul!’ at me in the street, so that was interesting!” he laughed.

“It felt like there was a real buzz around the Big Bash this year. I think, with the shortened tournament, that gave it a bit of a resurgence, and it was awesome to be a part of it.

“You always hope that you can have an instant impact, but to actually do it, and be voted in the team of the tournament, as well as winning it – it doesn’t really get much better than that!” he said.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet, and I’ll probably reflect on it as I move forward. One day soon, I’ll be able to sit down and go ‘yeah, that was pretty awesome!’ but it’s been a great couple of months.”

The 29-year-old is in firm agreement with the idea that the warmth of the welcome and ongoing support he received from his teammates helped him perform at his best.

“We pretty much had the same squad as last season, so the lads knew each other pretty well and I came into quite a settled squad,” he explained.

“It’s always easier to walk into a settled changing room, rather than one with five or six new guys, but the lads were brilliant, and they made me feel at home from the first day, so that part of it was easy.

“We had a lot of local lads there, and they played the conditions really well, especially at home, so I didn’t have to do too much with the bat at home!

“Then when we got onto sticky wickets in away games, which is probably more what I’m accustomed to, I managed to get the boys over the line a couple of times, which was nice!”

Walter’s biggest contribution with the bat was an unbeaten 15-ball 30 away to Melbourne Renegades, where he formed an unbroken stand of 46 off 26 balls with Matt Renshaw to seal a six-wicket win.

Having played all but two of the Heat’s 13 matches in the tournament, Walter reflected on what he was able to learn from his spell down under.

“Personally, I’d never really played at a ground like [the Gabba] before. I’d say that, and Optus Stadium in Perth, are fairly unique,” he said.

“They’re very bouncy, quick wickets, and the dimensions of the ground, with the big pockets, mean that you’ve got to change your game around to try and be successful there.

“I don’t think you ever play more cricket and become a worse cricketer,” he added. “I think it helps you round yourself off as a player, getting used to different conditions.

“You can learn how different people go about the game. Every time you go and play with different people and coaches, you’re always going to bring more experience back with you.

“With all that, I’m now really looking forward to getting back and getting stuck in at Chelmsford this summer!”

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