SOMERSET'S rising star Tom Banton will play in this winter's Big Bash after being snapped up by Brisbane Heat.

The 20-year-old will play the first eight matches in Australia's primary T20 competition and will be joined in the Heat squad by former Somerset batsman Matt Renshaw and South African legend AB de Villiers.

Banton was the leading English run scorer in this summer's Vitality Blast and has been named in England's T20 squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

Banton said: “If you had asked me at the start of the summer would I imagine it going like this, I would have probably had a laugh and suggested you weren’t serious.

“I was blown away when it was announced last week that AB was coming to join the Heat so what was already going to be a huge experience just got bigger.

"I’m really looking forward to coming to Brisbane and seeing what Queensland has to offer after previously playing club cricket in Perth when I was younger.

"I’ve watched a fair bit of the BBL at home and it is a quality competition with so many outstanding players. I can’t wait to be honest.”

Heat coach Darren Lehmann said: “He was the talk of English cricket during their season.

“Outside the Ashes, Tom was the player that a lot of people were really excited to be watching, and with good reason.

“He’s a lovely striker of the ball and has that wide and varied range of shots you need to make the most of the early overs in the power play or to accelerate the scoring through the middle and back half of an innings.”

“The prospect of pairing him alongside some of our young batsmen like Max Bryant, his mate Matt Renshaw and Sam Heazlett is pretty enticing, that’s for sure.

"But we know Tom will also benefit from playing and being around the likes of Chris Lynn, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting and Marnus Labuschagne as he takes steps to expand his skills and experience in Australian conditions.

“He’s joining us for the first half of the tournament but we’re hopeful he will have some time to catch-up with AB de Villiers at some point as that would be a great opportunity as part of his experience with the Heat.”

The announcement caps off a memorable week for Banton, who last Wednesday picked up the PCA Young Player of the Year award before being named as one of Welsh Fire's 'local icon' players for 'The Hundred' next summer.