Shabnim Ismail re-signs with Sydney Thunder for WBBL06

Women's CricZone Staff
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Shabnim Ismail re-signs with Sydney Thunder for WBBL06

Shabnim Ismail in action for Sydney Thunder. © Sydney Thunder

South Africa fast bowler Shabnim Ismail has re-signed with Sydney Thunder for the sixth season of the Women's Big Bash League in Australia, the club announced on Thursday (August 13). She returns to the club for a second year after a successful stint last season, and joins skipper Rachael Haynes as the club's second marquee signing.

Ismail only took a total of 10 wickets in 13 matches for Thunder last season, but was at her miserly best, going at only 5.88 runs per over through the tournament. She will bring a great deal of experience to a Thunder squad that currently has a very raw look to it after the retirements of Rene Farrell and Alex Blackwell last season, and Rachel Priest's move to Hobart Hurricanes.

Currently ranked no.3 in ICC's T20I bowling rankings, the 31-year-old was recently named South Africa's Women's T20I Cricketer of the Year and said she feels "on top of game right now." She also enjoyed a good run in South Africa's T20 World Cup campaign earlier this year taking five wickets in four matches at an economy rate under five runs an over.

One of South Africa's senior-most players, Ismail, who has over 200 international caps under her belt and a total of 238 wickets said she was excited about the opportunity to work with some of Australia's most promising young players.

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“In the WBBL, you’re playing with a lot of experienced players and against some of the best in the world, so it’s a great challenge,” Ismail said. “I’m a senior player for my country and in the Thunder squad as well so I try to lead by example. Having played for my country for 12 years, I enjoy passing on some of my experience and knowledge to the youngsters."

“We started last season really strongly and then obviously we slacked a bit, but I think the experience and the way we went about playing our game was really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hopefully we can get some more success this year."

Trevor Griffin, head coach of the club, said the fast bowler's fierce competitiveness and experience would add a great deal to the squad. He hailed Ismail's performances last season, adding that her keenness to learn and improve was what set her apart.

“Shabnim was outstanding for us last season,” Griffin said. “She was our most economical bowler and her pace caused a lot of trouble for opposition batters. She was a real competitor in the field too – some of the fielding that she did was just at another level."

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“She’s the world’s third-ranked T20 bowler but one thing that I noticed about Shabnim last year is that she still wants to learn and she’s constantly looking at ways to get better."

“With Alex Blackwell and Rene Farrell retiring at the end of last season, the experience that Shabnim brings is vitally important to help our younger players develop.”

Ismail is the first signing Thunder have announced ahead of the season. The squad now consists of eight players, with room for two more overseas professionals.

Thunder will kick off their WBBL campaign on October 17 against Perth Scorchers in Perth before clashing with Hobart Hurricanes the following day.

Squad so far: Rachael Haynes (c), Sam Bates, Hannah Darlington, Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail, Phoebe Litchfield, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson