Thunder confirm huge double signing

24 August 2018

England batsmen Jos Buttler and Joe Root will join the Sydney franchise for the first half of BBL|08

Sydney Thunder have signed England Test captain Joe Root and lured back national teammate and white-ball superstar Jos Buttler to bolster their KFC Big Bash squad.

The confirmation of the England duo ends the Thunder's interest in a return for Jamaican allrounder Andre Russell, however the Thunder will need to sign alternative internationals for the second half of an expanded BBL|08 season.

Buttler is one of white-ball cricket's most exciting players, and torched Australia in a five-match series this winter, while he also struck his first Test century this week against India.

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Both of the England stars will be available for the Thunder in the early stages of BBL|08 before national duties drag them away for a lengthy Caribbean tour.

Root's sojourn to the BBL will be his first taste of playing in a T20 league outside of England after he was snubbed in this year's IPL auction.

Root was also a contentious omission from England's T20 side earlier this year, which highlighted the depth of talent in the limited-overs formats that country currently possess.

The stint with the Thunder will not only add some high-profile class to the competition, but give Root a chance to further his case for national inclusion with global 50 and 20-over tournaments in the next two years.

"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."

Buttler became a Thunder favourite after last year averaging 33.66, with two half-centuries in six games.

"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."

Thunder coach Shane Bond used his connections with the pair from his time as an assistant with England and working with Buttler at the Mumbai Indians to help lure them to Sydney.

Bond warned Root would have a point to prove in the BBL.

"There's a lot of talk about his T20 game. I think he's a fantastic T20 player and he's hungry to make a point on that," Bond told News Corp.

 "I've seen him play amazing innings in T20 World Cups and he played for Yorkshire this year and scored 50 off 20 balls. He's one of the finest players in the world.

"You want to get guys who are hungry to succeed and have a desire to play at the highest level or win World Cups … and both Jos and Joe fit that bill and we're lucky to have them.

"We had a team that was pretty close to (finals) last year. Now they're a year wiser and older and having Jos and Joe (makes it) a pretty good-looking side."

Sydney Thunder in BBL|08

Current squad: Fawad Ahmed, Jos Buttler (ENG), Pat Cummins, Callum Ferguson, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Kurtis Patterson, Joe Root (ENG), Daniel Sams, Shane Watson. 

In: Joe Root (England), Daniel Sams (Sixers).

Out: Aiden Blizzard (retired).

Roster spots to fill: six

Internationals signed: two

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Jos Buttler

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