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“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”
Sydney Thunder general manager Nick Cummins has admitted that signing Australia captain Michael Clarke and opening batsman David Warner has indirectly contributed to the franchise’s poor record this season.
Cummins wrote all this in an open letter to members and fans on the Thunder’s website.
Since the Big Bash League (BBL) season started on December 20, Clarke has not represented the Thunder once, while Warner has only played one game, which came against the franchise’s crosstown rivals, the Sydney Sixers.
“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,” Cummins said. “It is important for members to remember that when David was signed by the Thunder he was not playing ODI cricket for Australia.
“His place was not secure in the Test team and he was left out of the ODI tour to India. 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 even hinted that the Thunder were considering making some big changes to their squad next season.
“We recognise that our list is short of experience, that our older players are being asked to carry too much of the burden and our younger players are being thrust into roles that has tested their experience,” he said. “However, we have a list of players that we are targeting, that we think will profoundly improve the Thunder. I am not going to speculate on names, but understand that we will be aggressive in our recruiting.”
Cummins also admitted to be embarrassed and ashamed of the team’s performance this season.
“Certainly we have not achieved the points target we set ourselves at the start of the season,” he said. “However, I think we have made enormous strides in becoming a more competitive outfit. We’ve broken our run of defeats and we were able to put ourselves in winning positions in four other games.
“Unfortunately, a combination of luck, inexperience and poor execution saw us fail to post a win in those four close games. We’ve been very disappointed with the games against the Heat and Hurricanes, as they were not played in the manner that we expect.
“The players know this and understand where they need to improve.”
Cummins added that the franchise have made some huge improvements in the coaching department and in the “quality of training facilities”.
“Off the field we have made enormous progress,” he said. “From a team perspective we have vastly improved our coaching, training, quality of training facilities, player welfare, player accommodation and player transport. These facets are all important in order to retain and attract good players. If we had not improved these areas, attracting star players would continue to be a challenge.
“From a club perspective, we have doubled our sponsorship revenue, exceeded last year’s membership and our crowds are up by nearly 50% on BBL02.”