In a move that could be described as the biggest in the history of the KFC T20 Big Bash League, Mike Hussey has signed to play for the Sydney Thunder next season.
The signing is an enormous coup for the Thunder and demonstrates their determination to re-invent themselves and represent the real heartbeat of Western Sydney with pride. After being offered the opportunity to have a major impact on a club that has struggled to do itself justice in its first two seasons, Hussey has taken on the challenge of bringing his experience, skills and will-to-win to a young team with enormous potential.
The 38 year-old has made it clear that he still wants to contribute to cricket in this country and has been excited by the challenge provided by re-invigorating the Sydney Thunder and helping to be part of an exciting BBL|03 that will now reach new audiences with all matches being shown by the Ten Network.
“I’m extremely excited about joining the Sydney Thunder and having the opportunity to be part of a young, energetic side that will represent the West of Sydney with pride.” Hussey said “The team and the area have enormous potential and I hope that I can bring my experience to help get the best out of the side and develop the talented playing group that we have. It was not an easy decision to leave the Scorchers, but the challenge of helping a young team grow was one I couldn’t pass on. I look forward to working closely with Coach Chandika and Michael Clarke to make sure that the squad are ready to go once the season starts. It will be exciting to play at ANZ Stadium next season and we look forward to playing positive cricket and making the members and fans proud.”
In other major news, Australian captain Michael Clarke has confirmed that he will return to the Thunder for a second season. Clarke will captain the side in any matches he is available for. Clarke was delighted that the Thunder had captured Hussey’s signature: “The signing of Mike Hussey is great news for Thunder members and fans. Mike is an outstanding cricketer and a great team man and the experience and abilities as a player that Mike will bring, will be of enormous benefit to the squad of players that we have. I look forward to working closely with Mike when I have the opportunity to be part of the Thunder this season.”
Cricket New South Wales Chief Executive Andrew Jones was equally excited: “Having signed a player of Mike’s quality and experience is phenomenal news for Thunder fans. His record in all formats is outstanding and it is a testament to him that he is willing to turbocharge the growth of Australian cricket by committing to the men in green. Mike is also excited to develop the young talent at the club and help create a team the members and fans of Western Sydney can be proud of.”
Hussey will captain the side when Michael Clarke is unavailable.
The Thunder have also signed a group of players that have ability and balance leading into BBL|03.
With five players already under contract the Thunder have added Michael Clarke, Dirk Nannes, Gurinder Sandhu, Chris Tremain, Kurtis Patterson and Daniel Hughes.
Nannes is still one of the best T20 bowlers in the world and re-joins the Thunder for a second season after being the team’s leading bowler in BBL|02, where he took 11 wickets at 18.90 in eight matches. He was a favourite amongst Thunder members and fans last season and his return will be well received.
The re-signing of Gurinder Sandhu is also tremendous news for the Thunder. Of Indian heritage, the tall right-arm paceman burst on to the scene for the NSW SpeedBlitz Blues last year, winning the Steve Waugh Medal for Player of the Year, despite playing in less than half the matches. He is currently in South Africa with the Australian A side.
Chris Tremain offers a powerful third pace bowling option, while both Kurtis Patterson and Daniel Hughes have crossed town from the Sydney Sixers. Patterson who scored a brilliant century on First Class debut for New South Wales in 2011, provides a quality top order batting option alongside another lefty in Daniel Hughes, who debuted for both New South Wales and the Sydney Sixers last year, including scoring an unbeaten 51 for the Sixers versus the Thunder in the ‘derby’ match at ANZ Stadium.
The Thunder already had five talented players currently signed. Star all-rounder Scott Coyte, Explosive top order batsman, Cameron Borgas, wicketkeeper batsman Ryan Carters, left-arm spinner Luke Doran and talented all-rounder Jason Floros will form the backbone of the squad from last season.
The current Thunder contracted list of twelve is:
Michael Clarke (C)
At this stage BBL clubs only have to contract a minimum of ten player