Warner close to signing for Thunder return in BBL|14

Retiring Aussie opener 'definitely' wants to play Big Bash this summer, vowing to give back to the Western Sydney club

'The Day Davey Arrived': Aussies recall Warner debut

David Warner is committed to playing with Sydney Thunder if he returns to the Big Bash this summer following his retirement from international cricket.

The veteran opener is in the final week of his time in Australian colours, a career he hopes to finish with his third World Cup triumph.

From there he'll become a full-time T20 freelancer with stints already lined up in Canada's Global T20 and the Cayman Islands-hosted MAX60 (T10) Caribbean League after the World Cup in July-August while also having more time spend with his young family.

Thunder general manager Trent Copeland remains extremely optimistic about securing Warner's return for KFC BBL|14 and the 37-year-old appears equally as keen to re-sign, committing "100 per cent" to the Western Sydney club as his home should he play.

"I definitely want to play; I want to commit to giving back to the game," Warner said this week in Antigua ahead of the T20 World Cup's Super Eight stage.

Warner brings up his half-century with a six against Bangladesh in Australia's first Super Eight match // Getty

"I enjoyed it (the BBL) last season.

"I'll be in and around with commentary this summer so hopefully when I sign my contract, I've got a good level of moving around and making sure I'm part and parcel of all the training sessions as much as I can with family (commitments).

"I retired for a reason – that's to be with family. Commentating on the Test stuff and going to the Big Bash – we'll work out how that (fits).

"Hopefully, I should be signing soon."

Warner played two matches for the Thunder in BBL|13, which included a blockbuster Sydney Smash at the SCG // Getty

Warner – Australia's leading run-scorer in men's T20 internationals after surpassing former skipper Aaron Finch against Oman – signed a two-year deal with the Thunder in 2022 to return to the Big Bash, ending a nine-year hiatus due to his international commitments.

Warner managed 149 runs at 21.29 in his eight appearances across BBL|12 and BBL|13, but he showed what lengths he was prepared to go to play for the Thunder last season following his Test retirement when he charted a helicopter from his brother's wedding in Hunter Valley to the SCG so he could arrive in time for the blockbuster Sydney derby against the Sixers featuring fellow Aussie star Steve Smith.

That match drew a crowd of 41,027, a record attendance for a BBL match at the SCG that was beaten by the Sixers-Heat final 12 days later.

Copeland, a good friend of Warner's having played together at NSW since the paceman's debut in 2010, said he wasn't "taking for granted" that the left-hander would be a hot commodity on the T20 circuit following his international retirement.

"He's a champion of the club, a long-standing member who hasn't really had the opportunity in his career to actually just live and breathe that for a full summer," Copeland said.

"So I'm really keen to make that happen … so he can be a Thunder man for life.

"I think it'd be an exciting story to finish off what has been an amazing career for him."

Should they get the deal done, Warner's addition for a full BBL campaign could go a long way to helping the Thunder rebound from their bottom-of-the-table finish last season.

The club has been very active in the off-season so far, securing English T20 specialist Sam Billings for the next three years under the league's new multi-year contracting mechanism for overseas players.

They also extended the contract of men's head coach Trevor Bayliss for one year with the expectation he leads "the team on an upward trajectory this season".

Warner takes selfies with fans during last summer's Big Bash // Getty

Warner's influence on the Big Bash this summer will also extend to more regular appearances in the commentary box after joining the Fox Cricket team last year.

"It's a great connection I'm going to have for the next 2-3 years, having sat in that changeroom for a long time," he said.

"Just giving people an insight into what Steve Smith does, what Marnus Labuschagne does to get ready, what the bowlers do in between (innings) and explain to people why selectors rest certain people at certain times.

"There's method to the madness when we're picking white-ball and red-ball teams, and for World Cups, (so it'll be) giving people that knowledge about whatever it is."