The Sydney Thunder have successfully replaced the withdrawn David Willey in their squad with pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi following his impressive showings at the World T20. Head coach Adam Gilchrist labelled him an emerging talent while highlighting the growing repute of Afghan players in the BBL.
Fazalhaq Farooqi has become the latest player from Afghanistan to join the Big Bash League after signing with the Sydney Thunder for the upcoming tournament edition beginning December 13. The pacer from Afghanistan has been roped in as a replacement for English all-rounder David Willey after he withdrew from the competition by mutual agreement despite having been picked as the team's platinum overseas player in the draft held in August.
Farooqi, just 22 years old, has already represented his country in 17 T20Is, scalping 21 wickets at an average of 20.52 and an excellent economy of 6.76. He rose to fame recently after helping Afghanistan bundle over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup opener with stunning figures of 3.4-1-11-3, following up the performance with yet another three-wicket haul against Pakistan later in the tournament. The left-arm quick cemented his reputation as a prodigy with a haul of 1/24 against England and 2/29 against Australia at the World T20 Down Under, conceding runs at a paltry economy of 6.52 in the marquee event.
Sydney Thunder head coach Adam Gilchrist was all-praise for Farooqi, highlighting how he is the latest among the current generation of Afghan players to earn a reputation as global T20 powerhouse in franchise cricket.
"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," he was quoted saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
"While it was very disappointing to have lost David Willey, it has opened the door for Farooqi further to enhance his reputation and growing status in world cricket. 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," Gilchrist added.
The 2015/16 champions Sydney Thunder will begin their campaign against the Melbourne Stars, hoping to better their third-place finish in the previous edition.
A big welcome to Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi, who will be joining the #ThunderNation for the #BBL12 season, following his exceptional performance in the World T20 Cup & Asia Cup tournament 🤩 pic.twitter.com/DlWh4i3jkd— Sydney Thunder (@ThunderBBL) November 23, 2022