Kallis ruled out of Sydney Smash
Black Caps batsman Henry Nichols signed after allrounder pulls out with groin injury
14 January 2016, 05:57 PM AEST
Thunder superstar Jacques Kallis has been ruled out of Saturday's Sydney Smash against the Sixers with a groin injury.
The Thunder need to win their last regular season fixture in order to realistically have a shot at appearing in their maiden semi-final, and the loss of Kallis compounds the absence of fellow key batsman Usman Khawaja, who is away on ODI duty with Australia.
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New Zealand batsman Henry Nichols has been signed as Kallis's replacement as the men in lime green look to end a four-match losing streak.
The left-handed Nichols scored an unbeaten 42 for the Canterbury Kings against the Thunder during their pre-season tour of New Zealand, before going on to make his ODI debut for the Black Caps on Boxing Day and playing five games in their victorious series against Sri Lanka.
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"It's all happened very quickly," Nicholls said. "It was awesome to play in series against Sri Lanka, especially to play as much as I did.
"The Big Bash is very popular back home and it's very exciting to now be involved in a very big game for a team who have a chance to qualify for the finals."
Thunder captain Michael Hussey played against Nicholls before making a one-off appearance for the Canterbury Kings where he played alongside him, and is well aware of his emerging talent.
"He's an exciting player, who is playing extremely well," Hussey said. "He's just working his way into the New Zealand set-up and is a player of high quality and we are very fortunate to have him."
After losing Kallis Khawaja, Hussey was keen to secure a top-order batsman.
"We threw around a number of ideas," Hussey said. "Losing both our opening batsmen created a hole at the top of the order.
"Even though we've lost Kallis we feel we have the cover with the ball, but were keen to shore up the batting."