Callum Ferguson revealed the decision to extend his contract with Sydney Thunder ahead of the start of the KFC Big Bash League was due to "faith" and his belief the Shane Bond-coached team has “titles” in it.
Ferguson, who scored 442 runs during BBL|08 - which included an unconquered 113 - has signed on with Thunder until the end of the BBL|10.
While he said re-signing was a chance to repay the club for the faith it’s shown by making him their captain, Ferguson said the makeup of the squad indicates Thunder is building up to something special.
“Apart from the faith Sydney Thunder has shown in me, I also feel a sense of excitement about the squad for this year and the years that follow,” he said. “It’s really starting to take shape nicely.
“We have a tremendous mixture of youth and experience, and when I look at this squad, I genuinely believe it’s one which has all the possible conditions on a cricket field covered.
“It doesn’t matter if it is a fast wicket, a slow wicket, big or short boundaries we have a fantastically well-rounded squad - and it’s one that has a huge amount of improvement in it and it’s one that can challenge for titles.
“There is a lot of reasons why I’m excited to be re-signing for an extra year: being able to work with our coach Shane Bond and vice-captain Chris Green is fantastic.”
Ferguson takes over the captaincy from Shane Watson who retired at the end of last summer’s BBL campaign. He said it was a job that would bring out his best.
“It’s a really enjoyable role and one that keeps you in the game,” he said. “As captain you work collectively with your players and you think more about your teammates than when you’re a squad player.
“You need to take a great care for your players and monitor how they’re travelling. I’ll work very closely with ‘Bondy’ and ‘Greeny’ to ensure everyone has what they need and are well prepared to perform at their best in the tournament.”
Ferguson, who has played 30 One-Day Internationals and three T20 matches for Australia, said the club’s social conscience was yet another aspect that made him decide to remain at Thunder.
He said Thunder’s programs with OzHarvest, which feeds people in need, allied with the Indigenous programs, leadership courses, its literacy program, the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup and other community-based initiatives meant a lot to him.
“To be able to give back the way Sydney Thunder does to the community is something I’m incredibly proud of, and while I know all the players are it’s a huge part of why I enjoy playing here,” he said.
“I’ve played at a few different franchises and I think we do it better than anyone.”
Thunder’s coach Shane Bond described Ferguson as a player who had a crucial role to play in helping build the club’s future.
“He’s captain this year and is still playing outstanding cricket,” said Bond. “I’m delighted to have him on board because if you look at our group, we still have some incredibly talented youngsters, but it’s very important to have senior pros like Callum in and around them.
“I’m delighted to have him on board. We’re excited about our squad and guys like Callum and Chris Green have been a big part of that. We’re a deep squad - we have 18 quality players - and we’re very excited about this season.”
Sydney Thunder is set to open its ninth KFC Big Bash League campaign against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on 17 December.