England stars Joe Root and Jos Buttler have signed to play for Sydney Thunder in the 2018-19 Big Bash League. Both players will be available for seven games before heading to the West Indies with England in January.
The signing thus ends the Thunder’s interest in a return for West Indies allrounder Andre Russell.
The move will be of huge importance for Root who has been trying to improve in the shortest format of the game. England’s Test skipper had missed the T20 tri-series against Australia and New Zealand earlier this year to remain fresh for the Indian Premier League. But surprisingly, he had gone unsold.
Time and again Root has spoken about his desire to improve in the T20s but has got few chances. Last month, he was dropped from England’s T20 XI. And thus Root will be keen to excel Down Under when he gets his first taste of playing in a T20 league outside of England.
A good performance can not only help him bag an IPL deal but will also bolster his chances of becoming a regular in the national team ahead of the World T20 in 2020.
Root expressed his excitement over the deal as he said he wants to gain as much experience as possible.
“I want to gain as much experience as possible in T20 cricket,” Root said. “It’s one of those tournaments where you want to be involved in it and I’m really excited to get that opportunity now with Sydney.
“I’m sure there will be some mixed emotions for the fans (with me signing) but … hopefully I can win them over through the time there.
“There’s an opportunity for myself now to put in some strong performances. And help Sydney Thunder go on and do some special things this year,” he added.
On the other hand, Buttler is one of most sought-after players in T20. The right-hander had enjoyed a sensational IPL this year with Rajasthan Royals. He returns to Sydney Thunder after scoring 202 runs in six innings including two fifties during last year’s BBL.
“I loved my time there, there’s a great atmosphere in the group,” he said. “There’s a lot of young guys but some experience in there as well, including Shane Watson who I really got to enjoy getting to know and playing under his captaincy.
“It’s a great part of the world and a really fun dressing room. I’m delighted to be back with the Thunder Nation,” he added.