The Sydney Sixers have confirmed the return of big-hitting England limited overs duo Jason Roy and Sam Billings for the coming KFC Big Bash league season.
Both players can expect to be called up to England's limited overs squads for the five-match Gillette ODI series against Australia, meaning the Sixers would need to either rely on home-grown talent or seek international replacements for the pointy end of the BBL|07 season.
Billings played five matches in magenta last summer, scoring 127 runs at a strike rate of 129.59 and averaging 31.75. Roy played just four matches for 92 runs at a strike rate above 161.
Roy had a difficult northern summer in England's ODI outfit, and struggled to find form with the bat during the Champions Trophy campaign before being dropped for the semi-final, which England lost to Pakistan.
He bounced back to form in England's T20 series against South Africa, but created a unique bit of history when he became the first man to be given out for obstructing the field in the shortest format of the international game.
Last season the Sixers turned to Michael Lumb, who had been a regular international signing, but he has since retired from the game, while New Zealander Colin Munro, who filled in for three games, last summer, is unlikely to be available this season with New Zealand hosting Pakistan for limited overs matches.
Sixers head coach Greg Shipperd welcomed the re-signing of the England duo.
"We are thrilled to have Jason and Sam back with us in our quest to go one further and win BBL|07," Shipperd said.
"Jason has the capacity to individually change the course of a match and we value his strike rate which was a stellar 161 last season, in combination with our two lefties at the top in Daniel Hughes and Nic Maddinson.
"As a batsman he possesses awesome natural power and has strokes in both sides of the wicket.
"More than that I was impressed by the impact he and Sam Billings had in the field they lifted a very good fielding group into a world-class unit.
"Sam is also a valuable signing for us. Importantly he had the capacity to bat anywhere from one to six which gives us comfort should we need or require adjustments to our order throughout the tournament. He can also cover with the gloves should that be necessary.
"Both the boys embraced the environment we were trying to create and they displayed a ready ability mix with their teammates."
Roy created a unique slice of history on England duty this year, the first
The wicketkeeper coverage is an important aspect in the Sixers planning. They have signed NSW Blues gloveman Peter Nevill from the Melbourne Renegades following the retirement of Brad Haddin, but Nevill could yet find himself on Magellan Ashes duty.
Sydney Sixers squad: Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Sam Billings (ENG), Jackson Bird, Johan Botha, Ben Dwarshuis, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Stephen O'Keefe, Jason Roy (ENG), Jordan Silk, Mitchell Starc, Henry Thornton