Sydney Thunder captain and Australian cricket great Shane Watson has announced his retirement from the KFC Big Bash League as he looks to spend more time with his young family.
The 37-year-old has played for the club for four years, captaining the side for the past three BBL seasons.
“I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who has been involved with the Sydney Thunder over the last four seasons,” said Watson.
“I have so many amazing memories that I will savour forever with the one standout being our win in 2016. I want to especially thank Nick Cummins, Paddy Upton, Lee Germon and Shane Bond who made my experience with the club so enjoyable.
“I will most definitely miss support that the club gets from the Thunder Nation. Their unwavering support through the ups and downs inspires everyone and I will cherish that support deeply.
“Finally, to my team mates, I have played with so many great people and cricketers at the club and I sincerely wish everyone the absolute best for the upcoming seasons.”
Watson finishes his career as Sydney Thunder’s all-time leading run-scorer with 1,014-runs which included a century scored at The Gabba against Brisbane Heat last season.
Sydney Thunder Head Coach Shane Bond paid tribute to Watson on a career that included 307 appearances across all formats for Australia.
“I played against him a little bit and he was an outstanding player, so I was really looking forward to working with him,” said Bond.
“He was great to work with, he’s the ultimate professional. He cared about the team and the players and was hugely respected in the dressing room. We’re really going to miss what he brings to the team and he will be a big loss.
“For the young players at the club he was very approachable, honest and you couldn’t ask for a better role model. We’d love to have him around in some capacity and there’s an open invite to have him join us during the season.”
Cementing himself as one of Sydney Thunder’s most popular players, the all-rounder also took 19-wickets for the club and helped Thunder win their first ever BBL Championship in 2016.
“Shane’s on field performances for Sydney Thunder will be remembered for many years to come,” said Sydney Thunder Acting General Manager Chris Botherway.
“But it will be the countless hours he spent off the field, signing autographs and inspiring the next generation to fall in love with cricket that will be his biggest contribution to the club.”
Watson will be available for select overseas tournaments and continue to play for Sutherland DCC in NSW Premier Cricket. A decision on who will replace him as Sydney Thunder captain will be made in the coming months.