Thunder target … Michael Clarke.Michael Clarke could be a shock signing for Big Bash League franchise Sydney Thunder.
Nanjing Night Net

The Herald can reveal that the Thunder have targeted the Australian Test captain as a marquee signing should they miss out on slashing opener David Warner.

The addition of Australian Test captain Clarke to an already impressive batting line-up would be a coup for the Thunder. The 31-year-old would be a perfect fit for the Western Sydney team – he grew up in Liverpool, played grade cricket for Western Suburbs and has gone to great lengths to promote the game in the area.

Clarke retired from Australian Twenty20 duties to concentrate on the longer formats of the international game. But after skipping the initial Indian Premier League seasons for family reasons, he made his debut for the Pune Warriors this year.

Clarke, who sat out the inaugural BBL season, would be a massive drawcard to the tournament. He would also bolster a Thunder batting line-up which includes West Indian opener Chris Gayle, renowned hitter Mark Cosgrove and Shahid Afridi. As revealed in The Sun-Herald, the Thunder are also in talks with English superstar Kevin Pietersen, who could be subbed in for Afridi when the Pakistani all-rounder departs midway through the domestic season. English keeper-batsman Matt Prior is also a possibility of filling the vacant import spot.

Should either Clarke or Warner commit, there won’t be a ground capable of holding the Thunder batsmen. Their busy international schedules mean they will only be available for cameo appearances, but either signature would be a marketing and promotional boon. Clarke has spoken passionately about promoting the game throughout the Sydney’s west and earlier this year won the Wests Ashfield Leagues Club’s Magpie Award for outstanding sporting achievement in the district.

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