Thunder open to shock Cummins return for BBL title push
Sydney Thunder aren't closing the door on Pat Cummins making a shock return for the Big Bash playoffs now that the men in green are within one win of making the final.
The door is being kept wide open but Thunder coach Shane Bond said any decision on whether Cummins would reappear would be entirely up to the paceman after he requested a break.
A long-time Thunder squad member, Cummins has made fleeting appearances for the Western Sydney franchise in previous seasons but informed the team before the current season that he wanted a rest and the Thunder have promised to honour that.
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But if he rings, the Thunder will certainly answer the phone.
"Obviously it would be awesome but we respect Pat's wishes," Bond said.
"He wanted a break. He's obviously had an amazing season and breaks come few and far between so we respect that.
"He's still a part of the club and we'll talk to him if he's interested to come back next year but we have complete faith in the squad that we have and we'll just move on with the players we've got."
There's not a team in the BBL that wouldn't want the superstar Australian vice-captain for the finals but not more so than the Thunder, who could include him as a local replacement player because he hails from Western Sydney.
The Thunder are the only franchise that didn't get any late season boosts once the Australian team finished their international duties so getting him back would only even the playing field.
While the Sydney Sixers have charged into the grand final after welcoming back Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon and the Melbourne Stars - the Thunder's next opponent - have been beefed up by Adam Zampa and Peter Handscomb, the Thunder got no fresh blood from the Aussie team.
Instead, it's been big-hitting English import Alex Hales who has been spearheading the Thunder's late season surge, scoring back-to-back half-centuries in the team's amazing playoff wins away to Hobart and Adelaide.
Unwanted by England after he tested positive to a recreational drug, Hales is in high demand in Australia and revealed to The Daily Telegraph that he had already begun discussions about returning to the Thunder next season.
"We're in the process of talking about it now but I'd love to come back next year," he said.
"The last few weeks have been amazing, a real highlight of my career so I'd love to get a chance next year to come back. Fingers crossed."
If Bond has any say in it, Hales will definitely be back in lime green next season, along with South African all-rounder Chris Morris, who is also hitting his best form at the business end of the campaign.
"Alex has been brilliant, we got him because we knew he was a world class player," Bond said.
"The last time we won the title Usman got hot at the back end of the season and now Alex is carrying the batting line-up and getting some good support.
"Chris Morris is heating us well so we'd love to get both of them back. They've fitted in brilliantly."