Sydney Thunder has completed its roster for the upcoming Rebel Women's Big Bash League season with the prized signings of England captain Heather Knight (pictured) and explosive batter Tammy Beaumont.
The pair, who were members of England’s triumphant 2017 ICC One-Day World Cup team, galvanize the experience Australia’s vice-captain Rachael Haynes, South African pace ace Shabnim Ismail, and former Queensland spearhead Sammy-Jo Johnson provide a Thunder squad that’s crammed with emerging stars.
Knight boasts plenty of WBBL experience, having played 55 matches for the Hobart Hurricanes. During her time in Tasmania she amassed 1,353 WBBL runs and captured 39 wickets.
Beaumont, who has played for the Melbourne Renegades and Adelaide Strikers, is renowned as a destructive top-order batter. The 29-year-old provided an insight into the power she packs by securing the 2017 World Cup’s player of the tournament medal on the back of a run-scoring spree that yielded 410 runs.
Thunder coach Trevor Griffin – who won two Kia Super League titles in England alongside Knight – was adamant the younger members of his squad would benefit from the experience the English players provide the club.
“With Alex Blackwell and Rene Farrell retiring, one of the things that stood out was the need for some support for Rachael Haynes, and some more senior experience to help our younger players,” Griffin said.
“Heather is a true leader. It doesn’t matter what level of cricket she’s playing, the way she prepares is always exactly the same – and that will be great for our younger players to see how the best players in the world operate.
“Tammy is an aggressive player who wants to score runs and wants to dominate... and that’s the way we want to play our cricket.
“They’re both great at connecting with people and sharing their ideas, so I have no doubt that our entire squad will benefit from having Heather and Tammy around.”
Knight, who has scored over 4,000 runs for her country in 187 matches across all formats, said she was excited by the challenges Sydney Thunder provides.
“From afar, I could see that Thunder has quite a young squad,” she said. “But, there’s some really talented youngsters which is really exciting.
“I’m really looking forward to supporting Rachael Haynes - who I respect massively as a player and captain – and also helping those young girls win some games and get into finals.
“Trevor being coach was a big factor in my decision. He’s a brilliant people person and really knows how to get the best out of me.
“I'm massively excited to work with him again.”
Beaumont, who has blasted almost 3,800 International runs – including a T20 International century – from her 163 outings for England was aware of what Thunder expect from her.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity for me... Trevor's hoping I can open the batting and be aggressive at the top of the order.
“Last year we saw how many talented young players Thunder has coming through, so it’ll be great to come into the set up and hopefully add a bit of experience.”
The full 59-match WBBL season begins on Sunday 25 October, with Thunder taking on crosstown rivals the Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on the opening day of the tournament.
Membership renewals are now open, with new packages available and a host of new benefits and exclusive discounts. Head to sydneythunder.com.au/membership for more information.
Sydney Thunder WBBL Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Griffin
Contracted for WBBL|06: Rachael Haynes (C), Sam Bates, Tammy Beaumont, Hannah Darlington, Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Heather Knight, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Kate Peterson, Olivia Porter, Lauren Smith, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson