Sydney Thunder have roped in Afghanistan fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi for the upcoming Big Bash League (BBL) 2022-23, starting December 13 in Canberra, with Thunder taking on Melbourne Stars in the tournament opener.

Thunder have signed Farooqi as a replacement player for England’s David Willey, who recently pulled out of the forthcoming season after being picked by the side as a platinum player in the inaugural BBL overseas player draft in August.

Farooqi did a good job in the T20 World Cup 2022 for Afghanistan, having picked up 1 for 24 against England and 2 for 29 against Australia while conceding just 6.52 runs per over across the three games he played. Overall in T20s, Farooqi has picked up 35 wickets from 33 matches at an economy rate of 6.53.

Thunder general manager Andrew Gilchrist stated the club was excited to add the left-armer to their squad after Willey’s departure. Notably, Farooqi has become one of the many Afghan cricketers, including Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi, to participate in the BBL.

“Fazalhaq Farooqi is an emerging talent. He joins Thunder in great form after playing exceptional cricket in the World T20 Cup and the Asia Cup tournament. While it was very disappointing to have lost David Willey, it has opened the door for Farooqi to further enhance his reputation and growing status in world cricket,” said Gilchrist in an official statement.

“Afghanistan has enjoyed a tremendous representation in the BBL over the years. Rashid Khan has been embraced by Adelaide Strikers fans as a genuine superstar and adopted South Australian, while others, including Zahir Khan, Noor Ahmad and Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Qais Ahmad have made their marks.We fully expect Fazalhaq will only further enhance the growing reputation of cricketers from Afghanistan being fearless cricketers and extraordinary entertainers,” he added.

Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Squad:

Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Rilee Rossouw, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, David Warner.

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