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BBL: Sydney Thunder sign Sam Billings on three-year deal

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Sydney, Juen 13 (IANS) England wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings has signed a three-year deal with Big Bash League (BBL) franchise Sydney Thunder on Thursday.

It is a massive boost for Thunder as Billings attracted the attention of a number of other BBL clubs, as well as several of the UAE’s ILT20 franchises and teams in South Africa’s T20 competition.

Billings had previously played two seasons for the Thunder in 2020-21 and 2021-22 before joining Brisbane Heat for the next two seasons.

“I must thank the Brisbane Heat for two great years up in Queensland. I loved my time up there at a wonderful club. Met some brilliant people and managed to contribute to winning a BBL," Billings said in a statement.

"I love Sydney and in particular Western Sydney and the chance to come back to a family club that is so connected to their members and fans and the people from the area was too good an opportunity to ignore.

"On the field we are pulling together a really good squad and the chance to work with such an accomplished coach as Trevor Bayliss again was very appealing. The BBL is in such a great place these days, it's well run, well supported and definitely the best tournament in the world staged at that time of the year. That's why I have committed long term and to be here right until the end of the tournament each year," he added.

Thunder finished at the bottom of the points table in last season and are hoping to rebuild the squad under new general manager Trent Copeland and former England coach Trevor Bayliss who recently signed a one-year extension.

“Sam’s made no secret of the fact he loves Thunder and our community in Western Sydney and in all our discussions with him, he made that very clear. The beauty of bringing a player the calibre of Sam Billings to the club is not just the elite skill set he brings to every facet of the game but also his leadership on and off the field," Copeland said.

“Sam genuinely wants to make a difference and connect with the community and for him to leave the Heat, who won the BBL last season, and want to come back ‘home’ to Western Sydney is massive for us," he added.

Billings’ signing comes off the back of the announcement that the club had secured the services of teenage prodigy Sam Konstas for two years and last month’s confirmation that Thunder will play more matches in Western Sydney this summer, with four fixtures set for ENGIE Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park.

--IANS

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