Ashes-bound Fawad joins Sydney Thunder

Test squad leg-spinner swaps Renegade red for Thunder green for BBL|05

Fawad Ahmed has joined the Sydney Thunder for the fifth season of the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash League, moving north from the Melbourne Renegades.

The leg-spinner was the leading wicket-taker in the 2014-15 Bupa Sheffield Shield, a performance that saw him added to the Australia Test squad for the West Indies and Ashes winter tours.

Leg-spin was an area the Thunder viewed as a weakness and they were quick to jump at the chance to secure 33-year-old Ahmed.

"At the end of BBL|04 (coach) Paddy Upton and Mike Hussey identified leg spin as an area that we needed to strengthen our bowling stocks," said Thunder general manager Nick Cummins.

"We believe that Fawad is the premier leggie in Australia, a claim supported by his excellent domestic season and selection for the West Indies and Ashes Tours, and we didn't hesitate to pounce when he came out of contract at the Renegades."

Ahmed played seven of the Renegades eight matches in BBL|04, taking five wickets at 32 with an economy rate of six.

The Thunder endured 19 consecutive losses between December 2011 and January 2014 – beating Ahmed's Renegades to finally end the hoodoo, but have since been on an upward curve.

Although cracking the final four has so far eluded the club, Ahmed said the progress made had helped convince him to join.

"I have been very impressed with the direction that the Thunder has been heading in over the last two seasons," Ahmed said.

"They are assembling an impressive squad and I am looking forward to helping Paddy Upton and the team build on the momentum created during BBL04."

Ahmed is the second Renegades player to defect to the Thunder, joining Ben Rohrer in making the switch, and his spin will complement the potent pace pairing of Pat Cummins and Gurinder Sandhu.

Aiden Blizzard, promising teenage talent Jake Dooran, wicketkeeper Chris Hartley and South Africa superstar Jacques Kallis round out the players who have already committed to the Thunder for BBL|05.