Shabnim Ismail, the fiery fast bowler from South Africa, has signed with Sydney Thunder for the first ever standalone edition of the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia. She joins Rachel Priest and Nida Dar as the club’s third and final overseas signing. She will join Thunder after completing South Africa’s tour of India that ends on October 14.
“I’m really excited to join the Thunder and obviously make a difference,” Ismail said. “I really want to make an impact with the girls, and obviously I want to win as well.”
Ismail, who recently turned 31, has played 84 T20Is for South Africa, taking 92 wickets at an average of 18.35 and economy rate of 5.77. Despite her small build, she is one of the fastest bowlers on the women’s circuit and possesses one of the most lethal bouncers in the game.
Most recently, in the absence of Marizanne Kapp, the right-armer led South Africa’s attack admirably in the T20I series against India, picking up seven wickets in four matches. She bowled with great fire and control, using the short ball, and well disguised off-cutters to good effect on a sluggish surface.
South Africa’s highest wicket taker in T20Is, and the third highest overall, Ismail said she is most looking forward to helping in the growth and development of the youngsters in the Thunder squad.
“For the youngsters, just to pass on my knowledge from the level that I’ve been playing at which is the highest level (is exciting),” she added.
Trevor Griffin, head coach of Thunder, said Ismail’s knowledge, experience and skillset would add a great deal of value to the Thunder line-up.
“I’m delighted Shabnim has joined us at Sydney Thunder. She is world class and one of the quickest bowlers in the women’s game, currently number two in the ICC T20 world rankings,” Griffin said. “I have no doubt Shabnim will make a big impact on the field and be a great asset to the Thunder Nation with her wealth of knowledge and experience. I’m really looking forward to working with her.”
This will be Ismail’s second stint in the WBBL having previously turned out as a replacement player for Melbourne Renegades in the opening season of the league. Then, she opened her campaign with figures of 3 for 10 on debut against Melbourne Stars.
The signing of Ismail means Thunder have completed their squad for WBBL05. With Rachael Haynes at the helm, and the likes of Phoebe Litchfield and Tahlia Wilson in their ranks, the club have put together a strong squad with a good blend of youth and experience.
Thunder will kick of their campaign against local rivals Sydney Sixers on Friday (October 18) at the North Sydney Oval.
Squad: Rachael Haynes (C), Sam Bates, Alex Blackwell, Nida Dar, Hannah Darlington, Rene Farrell, Lisa Griffith, Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail, Phoebe Litchfield, Kate Peterson, Rachel Priest, Naomi Stalenberg, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson