Shane Watson signs for Sydney Thunder in Big Bash League

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Sydney, May 22 (IANS) Australian Twenty20 side Sydney Thunder has unveiled allrounder Shane Watson as their latest signing for next season’s Big Bash League (BBL) domestic competition.

Watson has signed a three-year deal with the BBL franchise, and is likely to succeed left-hand bat Mike Hussey at the top of the Thunder’s batting line-up and take on a leadership role in future seasons.

Watson,33, who is currently ranked the fourth best Twenty20 allrounder in the world, joins the Thunder after playing with the Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat reported on Friday.

Expressing his happiness, the allrounder tweeted, “Thrilled to be joining the Sydney Thunder family. Exciting times ahead ?#?ThunderNation,” on Friday.

Watson was in fine form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 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. Royals exited the tournament after being beaten by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator match.

Sydney Thunder general manager Nick Cummins said Watson would further strengthen the club’s batting and bowling in BBL edition 5.

“Shane is one of the best T20 players in the world,” said Cummins on the Sydney Thunder’s 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 BBL 2015, but has been made with a longer term view in mind.”

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