The Sydney Thunder have unveiled Australia allrounder Shane Watson as their latest signing for next season’s KFC T20 Big Bash League.
Watson has signed a three-year deal with the BBL franchise, with the allrounder likely to eventually succeed Mike Hussey at the top of the Thunder’s batting line-up and take on a leadership role in future seasons.
The 33-year-old, who is currently ranked the fourth best Twenty20 allrounder in the world, joins the Thunder after playing with the Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat.
Watson was in fine form in the Indian Premier League last weekend, scoring an unbeaten century for Rajasthan Royals.
He finished the 2015 IPL season averaging 43.47 with a strike rate of 135.01, also picking up six wickets.
Sydney Thunder general manager Nick Cummins said Watson would further strengthen the club’s batting and bowling in BBL05.
“Shane is one of the best T20 players in the world," said Cummins on the Sydney Thunder website.
“He’s a proven performer, and has plenty of big game experience that will be invaluable in the Big Bash.”
With Watson currently representing Australia in all three formats, Cummins said his signing was a long-term investment, saying his contract had been structured to reflect his availability.
“We understand he is still very much a part of Australia’s plans going forward, and as such we’ve contracted him in a way that will work for both the club and Shane,” he said.
“Shane's signing is not just about BBL05, but has been made with a longer-term view in mind.”
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Watson said he was looking forward to joining the Thunder, with a view to taking on a future leadership role.
“I’m very excited, the Thunder is putting together a very strong squad, and have some quality players signed on long-term,” Watson said.
“There is the experience of Jacques (Kallis) and Huss (Michael Hussey) as well as some very talented young players.
“They are a club that’s growing on and off the field and I’m looking to make sure that growth continues over the next three seasons.”
Watson has been on Brisbane Heat’s list for the last three BBL seasons but played only one match in that time – in December 2012 – due to his international commitments.
He was in the Sydney Sixers’ squad for the first BBL season.
Watson joins fellow Thunder recruits Ben Rohrer and Fawad Ahmed, who both moved from Melbourne Renegades.
The Thunder line-up already boasts former South Africa allrounder Jacques Kallis, Aiden Blizzard, Pat Cummins, Gurinder Sandhu, Jake Doran and Chris Hartley.