Thunder rue Clarke, Warner BBL signings

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16 Jan 2019

Sydney Thunder boss Nick Cummins admits signing Australian skipper Michael Clarke and opener David Warner for the Big Bash League this season has been a failure.

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In an open letter, posted on the franchise’s website on Thursday, Cummins promised fans a review of the way such players were contracted in the future.

Clarke hasn’t played a single match this season for the Thunder, who took until Tuesday to break a 19-game losing streak with a win over the Melbourne Renegades.

Crowd favourite Warner has only featured in the lime green once.

“While both these players were signed before I started at the Sydney Thunder, these were well-intentioned decisions that have not proven to be successful,” the general manager wrote.

Cummins said Clarke’s back injury and commitments to the national team had limited his availability.

“Winning Test cricket is Cricket Australia’s number one priority and they have taken the view that all other forms of cricket must come second in regards to managing Michael’s fitness.”

He said Warner was not playing one-day cricket for Australia at the time he was signed, nor was his place in the Test team secure.

“To David’s credit (and our detriment), he put together a stunning run of centuries in both the Ryobi Cup and Sheffield Shield.

“We went from expecting David to play as many as all eight BBL games to only having him for one.”

Cummins said both players signed contracts “significantly below their market value”, adding that rumours of their pay were “vastly exaggerated”.

“The net effect is that we have been deprived of two senior players for the duration of the season and, when injuries to the likes of (Tillakaratne) Dilshan, (Usman) Khawaja, (Luke) Doran and (Andrew) Tye hit, our depth has been exposed.

“I can assure members that we will be reviewing how we structure the contracts of our Cricket Australia-contracted players going forward.”

The letter also assured fans the Thunder will recruit aggressively for next season in a bid to overcome their lack of experience and “profoundly improve the Thunder”.

“I am not going to speculate on names, but understand that we will be aggressive in our recruiting,” he added.

“I believe Thunder has the capacity to be a formidable club in the very near future. When this happens, it will be because of your support during the hard times.”

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