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THUNDER LOOK TO REPEAT THEIR UNDERDOG TRIUMPH OF BBL|05

England's Jos Buttler will feature for Shane Watson's team

Sydney Thunder have collected four of a possible six wooden spoons in the BBL, but with some new additions to the squad the Thunder are hoping they can prove their big win in the BBL|05 was no fluke.

Have they had much success?

In the fourth season of the Big Bash they finished 7th (which was their highest to date), but amazingly won the tournament the following year, captain Michael Hussey retired after the win.

Despite this huge improvement they fell back to their all too familiar 8th spot last time around.

But the Thunder have strengthened their squad for this season though, and are hopeful of a return to the top.

BBL|05: Thunder's winning team

Who are the men in charge?

Coach: Paddy Upton has been the head coach of the Thunder since 2014. The South African is one of the most experienced coaches in world cricket, having worked with the South African and Indian national sides.

Upton is also the current coach of Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League and the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.

Skipper: Shane Watson is returning as captain for a second season after taking the reigns from Michael Hussey.

One of the most accomplished T20 players in the world, Watson has turned to grade cricket to get his fitness up ready for the BBL season, he missed the first two games last year and without him the Thunder slipped to 0-2.

The skipper

“Last year I had four months off between the Caribbean Premier League and BBL, and I came in under-done.” Said Watson.

“The week before I was due to go to Bangladesh I tweaked my hammy playing grade cricket. But I’m playing enough now so I’ll hit the ground running.”

Who are the big names?

As well as Watson, the Spotless stadium is home to Aussie international Usman Khawaja, the Pakistan born left-hander has been with the Thunder since 2011.

Khawaja was the second highest run scorer in the successful BBL|05 campaign having played just four matches. He scored 345 runs with a stunning average of 172.50.

Pat Cummins is the other big name Aussie international in the Thunder squad.

Cummins is in the squad but will miss large parts of the tournament

Both Cummins and Khawaja are set to miss large chunks of the season due to international duty though, it could be another tough year for Sydney fans.

A lot rests on the players brought in to replace last years missing stars like Carlos Braithwaite and Eoin Morgan.

Who are the big additions to the squad?

England international Jos Buttler will be joining the Thunder for the first six games of the season.

The wicketkeeper batsman is sure to contribute plenty of runs, and having played in the BBL before for the Melbourne Renegades in the BBL|03, he shouldn’t take too long to find form down under.

Michael Hussey, who’s now director of cricket for the Thunder, is excited about what Buttler’s versatility, brings to the team.

"We're very excited to have Jos as part of the team," said Hussey.

Buttler played for Melbourne Renegades in BBL|03

"He's a quality player who provides us with plenty of flexibility. He can bat at the top of the order like he does for the Mumbai Indians (in the Indian Premier League) and also in the middle order.

New Zealand fast bowler Mitch McClenaghan has also joined the squad, along with experienced South Australian Callum Ferguson. Skipper Watson had high praise for both

“Mitch is full of intensity every time he bowls, he’s normally one of the leading wicket-takers in the IPL and I played with him in the Caribbean League, so I got to know him well.” Said Watson.

“Callum’s playing really well and he’s still got some of his best cricket ahead of him for sure.”

What are the Thunder’s chances?

Well to call them outsiders is an understatement.

They’re currently second favourites to finish bottom of the table (behind the Hobart Hurricanes).

Squad

Shane Watson*, Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Jos Buttler, Pat Cummins, Callum Ferguson, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher, Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Mitchell McClenaghan, Clint McKay, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu.

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