Joe Burns, an experienced top-order batsman, has signed a three-year contract with the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League. Burns, who has spent the last nine years with the Brisbane Heat, has inked a contract with the Stars that will keep him with the team through the end of the 2023-24 season.

Burns admitted that making the decision was difficult, but he is motivated to succeed with his new team. Burns commented, as quoted by Melbourne Stars, “It was definitely a difficult choice to leave the Heat after being there for so long, but I am ready for a new challenge with the Stars.”

After finishing second in the previous two seasons, the Stars had a poor 2020-21 season, ending eighth with only five victories from 14 games. Burns’ addition will strengthen a batting line-up that already includes veteran players like Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis.

“We are excited to welcome Joe to our squad for the next three seasons, especially given the experience and batting depth he adds to the squad,” head coach David Hussey said. “We are building a strong group with a lot of star power so hopefully we can play in front of our home fans and make it a special summer.”

Burns had a difficult summer in 2020-21, losing his Test spot for the first time after mediocre results. In February, he responded with a superb 171 against Tasmania in a Sheffield Shield match, concluding the first-class season with an average of 22.64, the lowest of his 11-year career. His BBL season, in which he helped the Heat to a finals spot with his highest returns in three years, was a saving grace.

The 11th season of the men’s BBL will kick off on December 5 at SCG, with the Stars playing against the Sydney Sixers.

Melbourne Stars updated squad:

Joe Burns, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Tom O’Connell, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa