Day 3 of our 2018-19 Big Bash League team previews will see us take a look at the Sydney Thunder! One of two Sydney team’s in the competition, the Thunder have had some poor seasons since winning the title in 2016 and will look to get back into finals contention in BBL08.
Last Season: 6th
In: Joe Root, Daniel Sams, Nathan McAndrew, Jason Sangha, Sam Rainbird
Out: Aiden Blizzard, Ben Rohrer, Clint McKay, Andrew Fekete, Mitch McClenaghan
Current Squad: Fawad Ahmed, Jos Buttler, Pat Cummins, Anton Devcich, Callum Ferguson, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher, Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Chris Jordan, Nathan McAndrew, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Sam Rainbird, Joe Root, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Shane Watson
In their seven seasons in the BBL, the Thunder have made the finals on just one occasion, which is the fewest of any team. However, they did win the title that year on the back of some brilliant performances by Usman Khawaja. Their marquee batsman will be unavailable for the majority of the BBL08 season, however, as he suits up for Australia in the Tests against India.
Shane Watson will captain the side once again as the 37-year-old continues to add to his glittering post international career. The Allan Border Medalist was fifth in the BBL07 leading run scorers with 331 runs at 36.77 and will be a key part fo the Thunder side once again.
The Thunder were able to sign English star batsman Joe Root for the upcoming season, who should sure up the top order. A gap in the English international calendar means that Root and teammate Jos Buttler will both be available for the first half of the BBL08 season.
Callum Ferguson will reprise his role at the top of the Thunder batting order while Shane Watson, Kurtis Patterson and youngster Jason Sangha should make up the rest of the top six. Sangha in particular will be a player to watch this BBL season after a stellar start to his domestic career.
Pat Cummins would usually lead the bowling attack, however, he’ll likely be unavailable for the majority of the season due to international duties. Apart from Cummins, however, the Thunder bowling attack shouldn’t be hindered by unavailability.
Danial Sams had a fantastic season for the Sixers last year and will add to the bowling stocks while Gurinder Sandhu has proven himself capable of leading a BBL pace attack. Fawad Ahmed has international experience but overall the Thunder seem really light in the bowling department. The absence of a real frontline international spinner could see them behind the eight-ball.
1. Kurtis Patterson
2. Jos Buttler
3. Joe Root
4. Callum Ferguson
5. Shane Watson
6. Jason Sangha
7. Ryan Gibson
8. Daniel Sams
9. Arjun Nair
10. Gurinder Sandhu
11. Fawad Ahmed
While the Thunder have definitely improved in some places, particularly with the addition of Joe Root to the top order, we still think they are a little behind the pace heading into the BBL08 season. Their bowling attack without Cummins should be handled comfortably on a night to night basis and their batting lineup relies a too much on a too few.
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