Just a few days prior to the beginning of Men’s Big Bash League (BBL) 2022, Sydney Thunder have suffered a massive blow as David Willey, their platinum signing in the inaugural overseas player draft, has pulled out of the tournament.

Willey, who was part of England’s T20 World Cup-winning squad but didn’t get a single game in the multi-team tournament, gave no reason for his withdrawal, with the Thunder team management confirming they had come to a mutual agreement to terminate his contract.

The star all-rounder was roped in by the Thunder as the seventh selection in August’s BBL|12 Draft and was the only platinum-level player expected to play the entire tournament.

Head of Sydney Thunder Andrew Gilchrist said the management was no doubt disappointed not to have Willey playing this season, but they also respect the Englishman’s decision.

“David and his management have been tremendous to deal with. Sydney Thunder regrets David won’t be playing for us this season, but we wish him and his family all the very best for the future,” said Gilchrist as quoted by sydneythunder.com.au.

“We’ve started the process, but Sydney Thunder boasts some incredible players on this summer’s roster. Alex Hales has been a star for England’s T20 World Cup campaign, and Rilee Rossouw proved while playing for South Africa how dangerous he can be. We also have the best signing of the season in Dave Warner, while Jason Sangha, Chris Green, Tanveer Sangha, Ben Cutting, and Matthew Gilkes are among the best in the business.There is a lot for Thunder Nation to be excited about,” he added.

Willey is the second platinum pick to withdraw from the upcoming season after his national teammate Liam Livingstone, who received a surprise call-up to the Test squad for the Pakistan tour in December. Though, Livingstone is not expected to miss the entire season as he might feature in Melbourne Renegades‘ fifth match against the Sydney Sixers on December 28. Willey had previously plied his trade for Perth Scorchers, from BBL|05 to BBL|08, where he picked up 26 wickets in 27 matches.

Sydney Thunder’s BBL|12 squad:

Ben Cutting, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales (England), Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, David Warner.

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