England batsman Alex Hales is all set to return to the Sydney Thunder for the upcoming Big Bash League (BBL 10) 2020-2021 as he becomes the first international star to sign a new deal and confirm his availability for the tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 31-year-old made his BBL debut for Thunder in 2019-20 and became a hit as he finished the league as the second-highest run-scorer as well as leading run-getter for the franchise in the last BBL season with 576 at 38.40 and a strike-rate of 146.93.
Hales said in a Thunder release: “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.”
He further added, “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.”
Meanwhile, Thunder head coach Shane Bond said of the re-signing of Hales: “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 concluded, “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.”
Noteworthy, Sydney Thunder will open its BBL 10 campaign against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on 5 December 2020 before playing its first home game at Sydney Showground Stadium on 8 December 2020.
(With AFP Inputs)