Shadab Khan provides spin boost for Sydney Sixers
The legspinner will help cover for injuries in the bowling attack
Two-time defending BBL champions Sydney Sixers have bolstered their shorthanded attack with the prized signing of Pakistan legspinner Shadab Khan.
Shadab will be available for the remainder of the season in a timely addition for the injury-hit Sixers, who have lost offspinner Ben Manenti to a season-ending neck injury while frontliner Steve O'Keefe is currently on the sidelines with a calf strain.
They have also been left depleted in the pace ranks with English import Tom Curran returning home due to a back injury while compatriot Chris Jordan's five-match stint has come to an end. In better news, former Australia Test seamer Jackson Bird is expected to return soon and make his BBL season debut as he recovers from an Achilles injury.
Renowned for his ability to wickedly turn the ball, Shadab will add dynamism and class to Sixers' attack as they chase a historic hat-trick of BBL titles. He returns to the BBL after a brief three-match stint with Brisbane Heat in the 2017-18 season.
He starred at the recent T20 World Cup with nine wickets from six games, including 4 for 26 against eventual champion Australia in the semi-finals. Shadab, however, was wicketless in his past two T20Is against West Indies earlier in the month.
A handy lower-order batter, Shadab averages 18.33 with a strike rate of 136.81 from 64 T20Is and has also scored three half-centuries in his six-Test career.
Shadab is the fifth Pakistani to sign in this season's BBL and joins Melbourne Stars' trio Haris Rauf, Syed Faridoun and Ahmad Daniyal, and Sydney Thunder's Mohammad Hasnain.
Sixers coach Greg Shipperd said the squad now boasted a trio of exciting young spinners with Lloyd Pope and Todd Murphy also part of the ranks.
"All three young men are still learning their craft but have shown at various levels that they can be world class," he said. "We welcome Shadab's skills in all three facets of the game and can't wait to see him get an opportunity in coming matches."
Even though they have had a horror run of injuries, Sixers sit second on the BBL ladder with their next match against crosstown rival Thunder - dubbed the 'Sydney Smash' - on December 26 at Sydney Showgrounds.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth and writes on sports for the Guardian and mailerreport