Blizzard puts cricket on ice for family
Sydney Thunder veteran Aiden Blizzard calls time on journeyman cricket career to put family first
16 May 2018, 02:24 PM AEST
One of the country's biggest bashers Aiden Blizzard has called time on a 12-year domestic career, his KFC BBL club Sydney Thunder announced Wednesday.
The powerful left-hander, best known for smashing a 130-metre six out of the WACA Ground and into the practice nets in the 2008 Big Bash final, has confirmed his exit from a career that began with Victoria in 2005.
He went on to play first-class cricket with South Australia and Tasmania as well, but Blizzard found his niche in the shortest format, playing 98 T20 games and finishing with a career strike-rate of 132.57.
The 33-year-old finishes with five Big Bash titles; three with Victoria and one with the Redbacks in the old state-based competition, as well as the Thunder's BBL|05 crown.
Blizzard also tasted success in the (now defunct) Champions League T20 competition in 2011 with Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians following a run of games opening the batting with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
He joined the Thunder from the Hobart Hurricanes ahead of BBL|04 and finishes as the club's fifth highest run-scorer with 390 runs in 21 matches at an average of 26.
"The franchise has come a long way, we'll always be judged on the field but the opportunity to change the culture and engage the fans is something I'm really proud to have been involved with," said Blizzard.
"It's going to be tough to say goodbye. The Thunder fans have been very understanding and patient, they're a unique bunch that have gone through some tough times, but are very loyal."
Blizzard labelled the Thunder's maiden BBL crown in 2016, defeating the Melbourne Stars in the final at the MCG, as the highlight of his career in green.
"I'd played a lot against Jacques Kallis in the IPL and Champions League but didn't really know him. We went on to have a great relationship and we still keep in touch now," said Blizzard.
"Usman Khawaja really stood up in the final but everyone made a contribution during the tournament that year, it was something very special.
"There's no doubt we've missed Mike Hussey since he retired, he brought the best out of people and it's hard to imagine that any team would be able to replace a Mike Hussey."
Originally from Shepparton in county Victoria, Blizzard has recently moved back to Melbourne with his wife Jess, who runs a talent management business, and young son Eden.
It follows a stint as the Australian Capital Territory's general manager of high performance, where he combined playing and mentoring their Toyota Futures League side as well as his BBL duties with the Thunder.
"I've played cricket for 15 years, 10 of those on the road, that's where the decision has come from," said Blizzard.
"I've got two units of my MBA to finish, while I look to support my wife's business.
"I gave cricket a good crack and I loved it, but now it's time to be a family man and look for opportunities outside of playing professionally.
"I'd love to free up a place in the squad for someone young to come through and enjoy similar experiences to what I've had.
"I'm thankful to have played cricket and would love to contribute to Australian cricket moving forward."
It's understood the Thunder are among a number of clubs in the running to sign West Indian Andre Russell, who played in their BBL|06 title-winning side, while they're also in talks with an England international.
Also high on the Thunder's agenda will be to re-sign captain Shane Watson, who is currently playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.