Watson raring to go for Thunder in Big Bash

Sydney Thunder captain Shane Watson has declared himself fully fit ahead of next week’s Big Bash season-opener against the cross-town Sixers, having recovered from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of this year’s Bangladesh Premier League.
Nanjing Night Net

The retired Test all-rounder has returned to grade cricket with Sutherland after injuring his troublesome hamstring early in the summer, rendering him unavailable for the Dhaka Dynamites in what would have been his first crack at the BPL. He scored 108 off 51 balls in grade cricket on Sunday against Mosman.

Watson missed the first four matches of last season’s tumultuous Thunder campaign with a calf injury. He returned to lead his side to three wins from their last four games, but it wasn’t enough to steer them into the finals and their title defence ended with barely a murmur.

His injury was only one of several unsettling issues that plagued the club last summer.

England one-day captain Eoin Morgan was forced back to international duty halfway through the season, while Pat Cummins couldn’t see out the season due to commitments with the Australian team.

West Indian dynamo Andre Russell also missed the back half of the summer through injury. He subsequently received a 12-month ban for a doping whereabouts rule violation.

“It didn’t help that I was injured for the first four games as well, so that mucked around the batting order and the bowling line-up,” Watson said.

“We had Andre Russell come in and had a few things hanging over his head. It was a pretty disruptive season with a few things that happened.

“What we took out of last season was to be able to make things simpler, make sure that we really set the foundations really strongly in the first week in the lead-up to our first game, so everyone really is on the exact same page, everybody knows exactly what’s expected of them.”

The Thunder have recruited well as they target an instant return to the top four in this summer’s expanded competition.

Callum Ferguson has joined from the Renegades while New Zealand quick and Twenty20 specialist Mitch McClenaghan signed earlier this year. Both are expected to play out the entire season.

English wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has also joined the Thunder. He’s been named in England’s 16-man one-day international squad which will play Australia in five ODIs after the Ashes, starting on January 14, but should be available for most of the BBL.

“We’ve lost a bit of experience with Eoin Morgan, but for us to be able to get Jos Buttler, he’s a world-class T20 player and, from my dealings with him, he’s a world-class guy as well,” Watson said.

“His experience and his quality as a T20 player is going to add a lot of value.

“We’ve obviously lost Pat Cummins and the impact he provided with both bat and ball last year. The reason we went for Mitch McClenaghan [is that] he’s an impact bowler, very experienced as well – he’s had a lot of success at T20 cricket.

“Then through the middle order with Callum Ferguson, he is a huge coup. To be able to get Ferg up from the Renegades, he’s still playing great cricket.

“He’s going to add a lot of experience in that middle order. He’s a highly-skilled batter, reads the game very well, very calm under pressure.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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