Sydney Thunder announce Sam Arnold, Gabby Sutcliffe, Isabelle Afaras as local replacement players

Sydney Thunder face Hobart Hurricanes next. © Getty Images

With the sixth edition of Women’s Big Bash League set to happen in a bio-bubble, Sydney Thunder have announced three local replacement players ahead of the first match on Sunday (October 25). Top-order batter Sam Arnold from Penrith, Gabby Sutcliffe from Corowa and Isabelle Afaras from Northern Districts would be joining the likes of  Rachael Haynes, Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont and others in the squad.

Due to the COVID-19 protocols, the teams are not allowed to bring in immediate replacements, if a player gets injured. To cover for the possible injuries during the tournament, additional 20 players are staying and training in the WBBL ‘Village’ along with the teams.

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Thunder head coach Trevor Griffin had no second thoughts about selecting Arnold as she was a part of the squad last year. Arnold had come in as a replacement for Kate Peterson who got injured during the NSW Women’s Premier Cricket competition. “Sam had experience with us at Thunder last year, coming in as a replacement player,” he said.

“She showed her commitment and her athleticism in the group. ‘Liv’s’ unfortunate injury meant we needed to have another look at the squad. Sam’s experience from being around the squad last year stood out, and we’re delighted to have her back on board with us this year.”

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Excited about the opportunity, Arnold said that Olivia Porter’s injury was unfortunate. “I really feel for her,” she said, adding, “I am so super excited for the opportunity. It’s come out of the blue, and I’m so keen.” Sutcliffe caught the attention of Griffin with her impressive performance for the ACT Meteors. Griffin said that this would be a great opportunity for her to develop as a player.

“Gabby comes to us as a highly-recommended fast bowler, and we’ve already seen in training sessions, and in our practice match against the Scorchers, how athletic she is,” he said. He added that Afaras is an exciting, young developing off-spinner. “So, this an opportunity to have her around the Thunder environment and help her development,” he said.

Sydney Thunder will be facing city rivals Sydney Sixers in their first match at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.

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