Former Australia wicket-keeper Julia Price has joined Brisbane Heat as their assistant coach for the upcoming Big Bash League season, becoming the first female coach in the competition's history.
Price will assist the head coach Darren Lehmann, alongside fellow assistant James Hopes, bowling coach Ryan Harris, and coaching assistant Gavin Fitness. The 47-year-old has previously mentored Tasmania in the Women's National Cricket League and had coached Hobart Hurricanes in the first three seasons of the Women's Big Bash League.
"I'm pretty excited about that I have to admit," Price said on Seven's broadcast of the WBBL final on Sunday. "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to be around the guys and seeing how they do it differently to what the girls do. Having been in the Hurricanes set up for the WBBL, it will be interesting to see how the BBL does it.
"I had a bit to do with the Hurricanes boys, but this will be a completely different level now … I can learn off both the players and the coaching staff."
Lehmann said that Price would be a valuable addition to the team, more so with her tenure beginning after Harris joins the national U-19 team for the ICC Under 19 Men's Cricket World Cup in South Africa.
"We'd been chatting about whether there were some professional development opportunities for her through her USA role and we just went from there," Lehmann said. "She has an excellent cricket brain and plenty of experience as a head coach, so I can see her fitting quite neatly into our set-up.
"We knew we had Ryan Harris with us for the start of the BBL before he goes to the U-19 World Cup, but there was still a position available for us to fill on the coaching staff and we thought this was a great chance to innovate and think outside the box.
"I'm pleased the Heat have been able to go in a direction that we haven't seen yet in the BBL in having a woman on the coaching staff, but I don't believe it will be the last time it happens either."
The ninth edition of the BBL will open with the clash between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder at The Gabba on 17 December. Brisbane have lifted the title once previously, in the 2012-13 season, under James Hopes.