Billings back with Bayliss and Hales at Sydney Thunder

Billings back with Bayliss and Hales at Sydney Thunder

News

Englishman keen to push for a BBL title after missing out last season but his availability will depend on England selection

Sydney Thunder are putting the band back together with England batter Sam Billings re-signing for another stint in the BBL, this time under new coach and former England mentor Trevor Bayliss.
Billings’ return comes hot on the heels of Alex Hales, with the England duo to be reunited with Bayliss after playing previously at Thunder under Shane Bond.
Billings was a popular edition at Thunder last season, having been encouraged to sign by his friend and former Thunder captain Shane Watson. He made 260 runs at a strike-rate of 142.85 in 10 innings for the Thunder last season, including two half-centuries. One of those was a stunning 48-ball 83 that threatened to single-handedly steal a game off Perth Scorchers in Perth.
Billings said he was keen to push for a title this season after the Thunder lost the Knockout last season to Brisbane Heat.

“I think the most exciting thing about coming back to the Thunder is the group of young players that complement the older, experienced heads,” Billings said. “Hales is obviously a high-quality player and we have all seen what he can do.

“In my first experiences with Sydney Thunder last season there were obviously positive signs but we didn’t finish where we wanted to, or could finish. There is no reason we can’t take another step forward and go close to the title.”

Billings’ availability for Thunder will likely be dictated by his England duties. Although he is yet to play a Test match he has been called into England’s Test squad this summer and with England set to bring an extended squad to Australia for the Ashes and coinciding England Lions fixture he could well be unavailable until late in the BBL season. England also have a one-day series against West Indies in late January.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo