After a whirlwind 12-months, leg-spinner Jonathan Cook has signed a two-year deal with Sydney Thunder ahead of the ninth KFC Big Bash League season.
Cook enjoyed a breakout season after joining the squad as a Local Replacement Player for Usman Khawaja at the beginning of BBL|08.
The 29-year-old slotted well into Sydney Thunder’s spin attack, finishing with eight wickets from nine games, with best figures of 3/27.
Cook was first discovered through the New South Wales Premier Cricket competition, before impressing in Sydney Thunder’s development side during the pre-season Quin Series against the Hobart Hurricanes, Lahore Qalandars and Auckland Aces.
“For me, coming from full-time work into a professional environment, it felt almost like a holiday. Although it’s a job and I was working hard, I was also doing what I love,” Cook said.
“I was hopeful of playing a small handful of games, but I didn’t really go into the competition with any expectations at all. I was happy enough to be there and be around the group, so to make my debut and to go on and have a season that I can be really happy with was a bonus.
“I can definitely get some confidence out of last season however I’m also aware there will be some new challenges. Most of the players I was playing against last season didn’t necessarily know me or know how I bowl but now they’re more aware of me.
“I didn’t expect to be in the Big Bash last year and certainly didn’t expect to be signing a two-year deal with Sydney Thunder now, but I couldn’t be happier.”
Head Coach Shane Bond said the signing was reward for effort after Cook’s promising BBL|08 campaign.
“He was the surprise packet of the season,” Bond said.
“We hosted a Quin Series last year and we really tried to engage the local clubs and coaches to put forward names of players who they thought warranted the opportunity to play for Thunder because we want to provide those opportunities for players within our region.
“Jono got the opportunity and ended up playing a large chunk of the season. He did a great job for us, he was probably our most consistent player.
“He’s gone from full-time work and grade cricket, to a two-year contract with Sydney Thunder. He earned his contract, he did an outstanding job and fitted in with our squad beautifully.
“We played him early, I think in the second game, because we had confidence in what he could do. There’s no doubt when you play any of the new guys, there’s always going to be times when they’re going to find it challenging and they’re going to be under pressure and Jono had his moments but generally he was outstanding.
“He was very consistent, went for six runs an over and took wickets, and the beauty with this season is that he will carry that experience into this year.
“If he continues performing the way he did last season, I’m sure he’ll do a great job for us.”
Sydney Thunder is set to open its ninth KFC Big Bash League campaign against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on 17 December, before playing its first game in Sydney on 2 January.
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