The upcoming fourth installment of the Big Bash League is set to be bigger and better than ever.
Last season’s tournament saw the emergence of the big-hitting Craig Simmons, who helped lead the Perth Scorchers to their first final victory, at the third attempt.
This season we can look forward to the emergence of more local talent, but also the emergence of the sleeping giant in green, the Sydney Thunder.
For three seasons the Thunder have been the whipping boys of the competition, picking up three wooden spoons from as many attempts. But following a serious make-over within the organisation, fans may finally see the light.
The signing of arguably the best all-rounder to ever play the game, South African legend Jacques Kallis, signalled the Thunder’s intention.
The addition of Aussie quick Pat Cummins, former Test spinner Nathan Hauritz, and the re-signing of England dasher Eoin Morgan mean the Thunder have class across the entire squad.
Although not met with the same fanfare as the marquee signings of Kallis and Cummins, the early arrival of Mumbai Indians big-hitter Aiden Blizzard is just as vital a piece of the puzzle.
For two seasons the Thunder were known as a one-man team, after spending a large amount of their allotted salary cap on West Indian superstar Chris Gayle, who seriously under-performed.
In season three, Mike Hussey was brought to the club, and again played a lone hand at times, although he had a slightly more impressive supporting cast than Gayle.
For the last two seasons the Thunder also wasted a roster spot on Aussie captain Michael Clarke, who did not play a single game.
Dave Warner was also signed to the club for seasons one and three of the competition, and although when he did play he scored plenty of runs, his Test and one-day commitments limited his availability.
In season four, no roster spaces have been wasted on big-name absentees.
Fans of other franchises, who once saw the Thunder as nothing more than a chance to lift their net run rate, will now face genuine competition when they visit ANZ and Spotless Stadiums.
Likely Thunder line-up
[Wicketkeeper – yet to be signed]