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Alex Hales and Thunder join forces in Sydney for the BBL

Alex Hales punches through the off side Getty Images

Sydney Thunder have signed England batsman Alex Hales for the upcoming BBL season.

Just a day after it was announced that AB de Villiers would be joining Brisbane Heat, the Thunder have signed Hales to bolster their top order.

The Thunder had Jos Buttler and Joe Root for the early part of the tournament last season but both had to depart halfway through due to international duty. Hales joins South African allrounder Chris Morris as the overseas signings at the Thunder this season.

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He is currently out of favour with the England side and appears unlikely to be part of England's tour to South Africa which takes place during the BBL having not been handed a white-ball central contract for the next year following his axing from the World Cup.

He has already played for the Melbourne Renegades, Adelaide Strikers, and Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL but has not appeared since 2015.

"I really can't wait to return to the Big Bash," Hales said. "It's such a hugely respected tournament around the world. The standard of cricket is amazing and any chance you get to visit Australia and play over there is amazing, so I'm really looking forward to it.

"Sydney Thunder is the full package. Sydney is one of the best cities in the world, getting the chance to work with Shane Bond - who is a highly respected coach - and it's a young club, so hopefully, I can be part of building a successful family there. As an opener, you want to be one of the leading run-scorers, so that's definitely one of my aims."

Hales is coming off an excellent season with Nottinghamshire in the T20 Blast where he made 418 runs in 12 innings at a strike-rate of 140.26, including five half-centuries, to help them reach the semi-final. Thunder coach Shane Bond was delighted to get a player of his calibre.

"He's one of the best T20 batters in the world. To have someone of his quality available for the whole tournament for us is a great pick up," Bond said. "I spent a little bit of time with him at the Mumbai Indians and came up against him when I coached New Zealand and he smacked us a number of times.

"He's one of the most destructive batters, is an outstanding fielder and is also obviously a highly experienced player. He's highly respected at Notts and does a great job with their young players. With players like Sangha, Gilkes, and Davies, to have someone who has been there and done that, Alex has played in leagues all around the world and is an outstanding batsman in this format. To have someone like him to learn off is perfect.

"Obviously Alex is on the outer with the England squad at the moment, but I think he's still got a lot to offer so hopefully this is another chance for him to show his maturity and make a claim for the T20 World Cup next year."