Billings was announced today as Thunder’s third international signing for BBL | 10 confirmed, together with compatriot Alex Hales and kiwi speedster Adam Milne, while successful all-rounder Ben Cutting also signed with the Brisbane Heat in the off-season.
Due to the England tour of South Africa and the mandatory two-week quarantine period he has to complete when he arrives in Australia, the bills are only available after Christmas.
For the first time ever, BBL teams are allowed to play three caps in their XI this season after signing a deal with the Australian Cricketers Association earlier this year.
Billings has previously played for the Sydney Sixers, with a highest score of 61 out of 11 games.
He is expected to be in the Thunder middle class alongside Cutting and behind the top three of Hales, Usman Khawaja and Skipper Callum Ferguson.
“They don’t take anything for granted, but having that behind you definitely helps,” said Billings of his century against the Aussies.
“It was something I was very proud of and it’s definitely one of my best summers in cricket.
“Jos (Buttler) and Joe Root are two good friends of mine who represented Thunder, so I started thinking about the setup; all I could think of! Nobody had a bad word … all they could tell me was that it was a great franchise and wonderful to be a part of. ”
Billings is no stranger to Sydney’s west, having previously played cricket with Penrith club, where he played alongside former Thunder Quick and current Aussie star Pat Cummins.
While most T20 batsmen prefer to open the innings, Billings is keen to work on his skills in the middle order as he envisages one final role in England for the T20 World Championship next year.
“There are some options at the top of the list (for England),” he said recently.
“It’s a different role, and it’s a very specific role. So it’s one that I really want to understand. It’s a role that I’ve consistently done for Kent over the past few years and that I actually prefer. ”
Billings is the ninth Englishman to sign for a BBL club this season, after Hales, Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone (both Perth Scorchers), Dawid Malan (Hobart Hurricanes), Tom Curran, James Vince (both Sixers), Banton and Lewis Gregory (both) Brisbane Heat).
Jonny Bairstow (Melbourne Stars), Phil Salt (Adelaide Strikers) and Reece Topley have also been linked to a trip to Australia this summer.
Afghan trio Rashid Khan (striker), Mohammad Nabi (Melbourne Renegades) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Heat) are also returning to their respective clubs, while South African veteran Imran Tahir has signed for the Renegades.
This season, clubs have the option to add an optional 19th marquee player to their squad who will be paid through funds provided outside of the $ 1.86 million salary cap.
Sydney Thunder Squad: Callum Ferguson (c), Sam Billings (OS), Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales (OS), Usman Khawaja, Adam Milne (OS), Nathan McAndrew, Arjun Nair Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha und Chris Tremain
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