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Thunder name squad to face Scorchers

05 January 2022

Sam Billings // Getty

Sam Billings determined to finish BBL stint off on a high

Sydney Thunder’s Sam Billings is determined to complete his KFC Big Bash League season with a win over Perth Scorchers at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast tomorrow night.

Billings and fast bowler Saqib Mahmood will return to England on Friday to prepare for the England One Day International squad’s tour of the West Indies.

Billings, who is averaging 38 this BBL season, said it was unfortunate his stint with the third-placed Thunder was coming to a sudden end.

“I feel valued in this environment, I get the backing,” he said. “I really enjoy playing in lime green.

“It is a shame [to be returning to England so soon] but it’s always a privilege to represent your country.

“Hopefully I can continue the good form over in the West Indies.”

Thunder is the only team to have beaten the Perth Scorchers this summer, and Billings was adamant the team’s younger players had good reason to go into the match confident in their abilities.

“Every game is a big game if people want to think like that,” he said. “But actually, it’s just another game of cricket.

“What we do really well is keeping it simple. We focus on our process and the end result.”

Billings said he was pleased by the impact the club’s younger players, including Jason Sangha, Matthew Gilkes, and Ollie Davies are having on this summer’s competition.

“We haven’t relied on one player in particular,” he said of Thunder’s season.

“We have a lot young guys mixed in with some experience and actually if you look at it, probably the young guys have outshone the experienced.

“As soon as you get into the later stages of a tournament, that’s when generally experience really counts.”

Billings described Thunder’s coach Trevor Bayliss as a positive impact on Thunder’s entire squad.

“Very calm, and very simple in the way he explains things and articulates things around the group,” said Billings of Bayliss.

“That’s one of his biggest strengths... it’s a very simple game that we confuse as players. The noise, especially in T20 cricket, and the pace and play, there’s a lot of mental noise that can happen.

“As a coach he takes that all out, and allows you as an individual to just focus. He’s been a huge plus for us.”

Meanwhile, pace bowler Muhammad Hasnain – who took three wickets in the first over of his BBL debut during Thunder’s last start win over Adelaide – is unavailable for the match against Perth due to Queensland border restrictions.

The 21-year-old is preparing to join the squad when it arrives in Melbourne later this week.

Opener Alex Hales will join Thunder on the Gold Coast tomorrow after completing his COVID-19 isolation in Adelaide.

Tanveer Sangha, Alex Ross, and Sam Whiteman will end their isolation period on January 7.

Sydney Thunder Squad v Perth Scorchers

# Player  Junior Club 
93 Chris Green (C) St Ives JCC
7 Sam Billings Hartley Country Club JCC (England)
50 Jonathon Cook St Andrews JCC
31 Ben Cutting MacGregor JCC
9 Ollie Davies Harbord Devils JCC
35 Brendan Doggett Southern Districts JCC
22 Matthew Gilkes Ulladulla United JCC
87 Alex Hales Gerrards Cross JCC (England)
55 Lachlan Hearne (Local Replacement Player) Roseville JCC
27 Baxter Holt Carlingford Waratah JCC
11 Saqib Mahmood Thornhham JCC (England)
44 Nathan McAndrew Oak Flats JCC
10 Arjun Nair (Local Replacement Player)  Kensington CC
95 Daniel Sams Panania-East Hills RSL JCC
28 Gurinder Sandhu Plumpton-Glendenning JCC
23 Jason Sangha Wallsend JCC
20 Chris Tremain Kinross Wolaroi JCC