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Billings picks Sydney Thunder ahead of rival T20 leagues

The wicketkeeper-batter has signed a three-year deal and will be available for the entirety of every season

Sam Billings played a sparkling innings, Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers, BBL 2021-22, Canberra, December 28, 2021

Sam Billings will be back for Sydney Thunder  •  Getty Images

England wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings has become the first player to sign for the BBL under the new multi-year contract option with a three-season deal for Sydney Thunder, committing to the competition ahead of rival T20 leagues in the UAE and South Africa.
Billings previously played two seasons for the Thunder in 2020-21 and 2021-22 before spending the next two campaigns with Brisbane Heat. He was one of a group of overseas players to leave the tournament early last season to take up a deal with the ILT20 and the BBL's new multi-year option is an attempt to secure players for the duration by offering them security.
The SA20 will again significantly overlap with the BBL when it starts in early January, while the ILT20 begins earlier next season so it creates an even greater clash.
In return, under terms of signing a three-year deal, a player must commit to the entire BBL including the finals from the 2025-26 season, but Billings has gone a step further and will also be available throughout next season's edition.
"I love Sydney and in particular Western Sydney and the chance to come back to a family club that is so connected to their members and fans and the people from the area was too good an opportunity to ignore," Billings said.
"On the field we are pulling together a really good squad and the chance to work with such an accomplished coach as Trevor Bayliss again was very appealing.
"The BBL is in such a great place these days, it's well run, well supported and definitely the best tournament in the world staged at that time of the year. That's why I have committed long term and to be here right until the end of the tournament each year."
Thunder finished bottom in last season's BBL with just one win in 10 matches so are attempting to rebuild under new general manager Trent Copeland and former England coach Trevor Bayliss who recently signed a one-year extension.
"The beauty of bringing a player the calibre of Sam Billings to the club is not just the elite skillset he brings to every facet of the game but also his leadership on and off the field," Copeland said.
Billings is the second Thunder signing confirmed in two days after the club secured highly-rated young batter Sam Konstas on a two-year deal. Konstas, 18, who made his New South Wales debut last season, was part of Thunder's squad last summer but did not feature before heading to the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa where he helped Australia to the title.
The WBBL has the same multi-year contract mechanism with New Zealand allrounder Amelia Kerr the first signed under the agreement as she moved to Sydney Sixers from Heat.
Sydney Thunder BBL squad 2024-25: Wes Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Sam Billings, Oliver Davies, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher, Sam Konstas, Nathan McAndrew, William Salzmann, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha