Ahead of the upcoming Big Bash League ((BBL), Sydney Thunder has announced that England's top-order batsman Alex Hales would be representing them in the tournament.
The 31-year-old's debut season for Thunder in 2019-20 is remembered as a smash hit. He compiled a total of 576 runs to finish as the league's second-highest runscorer.
He registered 59 boundaries and cleared 23 sixes to record a formidable strike rate of 146.93. Hales, who was a member of the triumphant Notts Outlaws outfit that seized England's T20 Vitality Blast crown by beating Surrey earlier this week, said he had good reason to be excited about returning to Thunder on a new one-year deal.
"I'm returning to Sydney, and I'm absolutely buzzing for it - I can't wait. Playing for Sydney Thunder means a hell of a lot to me. To get the chance to come back is exciting because we're at the start of something... I think the next two-to-three years is going to very special for Sydney Thunder as a franchise. I really believe that, and to know I'm coming back to that means a lot," Hales said in an official Sydney Thunder release.
"A lot of people had written us off as no chance at the start of the season, but we performed extremely well and won some fantastic games. So, when I look back on last season, I think it was a very successful one for us - as a very young and talented squad - to make the finals," he added.
Hales, who represented England in each of cricket's three formats, said he was excited to be resuming his partnership with Usman Khawaja, a teammate who he praised for being a "calming influence" in even the most adrenaline-charged moments of a T20 match.
"Usman and I are different players - and I think that's important for an opening pair. It means bowlers need to bowl at different lengths and different areas, and [we] score at a different tempo. On top of all that, I think the right hand/left-hand combination worked really well. Usman is also very calm guy too, a very calm influence, and that's very important in T20," said Hales.
Thunder coach Shane Bond described the re-signing of Hales as a coup for the club because he proved last season that he was more than a star cricketer.
"There's a whole range of reasons to be excited about Alex extending his contract - and they're exactly why we signed him in the first place. He is a great player who is available for the entire tournament. He played brilliantly for us last year, but he was brilliant on-and-off the field. He was hugely popular with the players and support staff - and that's how Alex is viewed wherever he plays," said Bond.
Sydney Thunder is set to open its tenth BBL campaign on 5 December 2020 against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG, before playing its first game at Sydney Showground Stadium on 8 December 2020.
( With inputs from ANI )
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