The Sydney Thunder have made major changes to their squad who narrowly missed the BBL08 finals last year by just 1 point. With the losses Fawad Ahmed and Shane Watson the Thunder have added the big hitter Alex Hales and South African all-rounder Chris Morris to join their largely youth-based squad. The Thunder fans will also be happy to see Usman Khawaja available from the start of the season as he has been omitted from the Australian test squad and looks unlikely to get back in any time soon.
Last Season - 6th
Squad: Jonathan Cook, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Callum Ferguson, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Nathan McAndrew, Chris Morris, Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain
Ins: Brendan Doggett, Alex Ross, Chris Tremain, Oliver Davies, Alex Hales (England), Chris Morris (South Africa)
Outs: Fawad Ahmed, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Patrick Cummins, Ryan Gibson, Liam Hatcher, Kurtis Patterson, Sam Rainbird, Shane Watson, Anton Devcich, Chris Jordan
Alex Hales is a huge inclusion to the Thunder and although he is yet to find consistent form in the BBL his stats in England speak for themselves and he can put together a big score coupled with a great strike rate. Usman Khawaja’s season-long availability is a huge plus for the Thunder as is Callum Ferguson’s current form which has largely slipped under the radar. The Thunder while on paper don’t have the biggest names in their batting line-up especially after losing Jos Butler and Joe Root from last year’s squad, do boast enough proven quality to become a formidable batting team.
The loss of Fawad Ahmed is huge for the Thunder as is Pat Cummins and even Shane Watson. Their bowling line-up looks the weakest of all on paper and it could prove to be their Achilles heel for the season. The Thunder often have had poor economy rates in the past that has cost them dearly and it could be the case again here. Chris Green, Chris Tremain and Brendan Doggert all are a long way from the top tier bowlers in the BBL. The key player to the Thunders bowling attack is the import Chris Morris, a quality all-rounder who has done his share of death bowling and I would assume he would be Thunders go to clutch bowler. He can consistently hit 140km/h and prove to be their strike bowler, but their overall bowling line up does lack quality and depth overall.
1. Alex Hales
2. Usman Khawaja
3. Callum Ferguson
4. Matthew Gilkes
5. Jason Sangha
6. Alex Ross
7. Chris Morris
8. Chris Green
9. Daniel Sams
10. Brendan Doggett
11. Chris Tremain
Prediction - 8th
I really can’t see this team making any sort of a play for a top four finish. Their batting line-up, while I do think is being a little underestimated, their bowlers will struggle to contain the class batters of other teams in the competition. Doesn’t look like the Sydney teams are going to have a lot of joy in BBL09.
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