Photo Credit: Sydney Thunder
Alex Hales, regarded as one of the world’s finest T20 batters, has described the KFC Big Bash League’s Sydney Smash – the crosstown derby between Sydney Thunder and the Sixers – as one of the format’s most exciting matches to play in.
Hales, who starred for the World T20 Champion England team during last year’s tournament in Australia, will finish his fourth stint with Thunder at the completion of tomorrow night’s Sydney Smash at the Sydney Showground Stadium.
The tall, right-handed opening batter’s latest campaign has so far yielded 245 runs at a strikerate of 142.44 – allowing him to sit fourth on the season’s highest run scorer ladder. Hales said he couldn’t have picked a more exciting match in which to bow out of BBL|12.
“It’s sad to part ways, but it will be an awesome game,” said Hales. “The Sydney Smash is one of the best games I get to play in all around the world, so I am really looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd.
“No doubt it will be an outstanding crowd and a great, fun game for me to be part of.”
Hales said he has no doubt he was leaving Thunder in good hands. Besides the impending arrival of David Warner, Australia’s phenomenal batter, Hales praised the club’s youngsters for stepping up this summer.
“We’ve seen what Oliver Davies and Matt Gilkes can do in the last few games,” he said of the Thunder team that’s won their last four matches.
“The young talent is starting to come through. To see the guys perform under pressure – and against probably the best bowling attack [Perth, the other night] – sets the club in good stead.
“To see these guys playing so well is exciting for the club.”
Hales said he has good reason for wanting to return to Thunder Nation next summer, acknowledging that it was his time at Sydney Thunder that allowed for him to make his long-awaited return to England’s T20 team.
“It helped in invaluable amounts,” he said about the impact of his career in western Sydney. “My record – and the success I have enjoyed for Thunder over the last few years – was probably the reason for me getting back into that side to play in the World Cup in Australia.
“I’m hugely grateful for the last few years in the Big Bash for getting me back onto that world stage. To play in [the] World Cup in Australia – a country I love – was the icing on the cake, and a very special feeling.
“I’d say [Sydney Thunder] is my home away from home from Nottingham. It has been four awesome years, and hopefully there’s many more to come; It’s a very welcoming club and Sydney is a great city.
“[Thunder Nation] is awesome; like a second family. I’ve loved my time here, and, like I said, I hope to have so many more years to come. Every year I leave with new memories and great friends. It is an awesome place to play.”
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Joel Davies – who made a stunning debut in Thunder’s win over Perth, with two scintillating run outs and as many catches – said he’d long viewed fielding as an exciting part of cricket and a surefire way to make an impact on a game.
“I like to see myself as an aggressive fielder, and I think that allows me to get involved in the game a lot,” he said. “I love being in the hot spots and in the action.”
Sydney Thunder squad v Sydney Sixers
Ben Cutting, Joel Davies, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Toby Gray, Chris Green (c), Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Ross Pawson, Usman Qadir, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Sam Whiteman.
Thunder play Sydney Sixers at 7.15pm (AEDT) at Sydney Showground Stadium on Sunday 8 January. The match will be broadcast live by Seven Cricket, Fox Cricket and Kayo.
Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Bayliss
Contracted Players: Ben Cutting, Joel Davies, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Toby Gray, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Blake Nikitaras, Ross Pawson, Usman Qadir, Alex Ross, Rilee Rossouw, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, David Warner, Sam Whiteman.
Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Home Fixtures
Tue 13 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars | Manuka Oval | 7:15pm
Fri 16 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Adelaide Strikers | Sydney Showground Stadium | 8:15pm
Tue 27 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat | Sydney Showground Stadium | 7:15pm
Sat 31 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes | Lavington Sports Ground | 3:30pm
Sun 8 Jan | Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers | Sydney Showground Stadium | 7:15pm
Fri 13 Jan | Sydney Thunder v Perth Scorchers | Sydney Showground Stadium | 6:30pm
Thu 19 Jan | Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Renegades | Manuka Oval | 7:15pm