THE Sydney Thunder are slowly assembling a near-international quality outfit in its bid for a maiden Big Bash League title this summer.
West Indies hired gun Chris Gayle is back.
So too is whirl-wind Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
That duo alone is enough to send shivers up the spines of most bowlers.
Add to the arsenal Englishman Kevin Pietersen, who is rumoured to be close to signing with the Sydney-based Twenty20 franchise, and the Thunder could boast the services of three of the most explosive cricketers on the planet.
The signings are timely too, with the Thunder batsmen failing to fire in last year’s inaugural BBL season.
It was the bowlers who held the team together.
But an untried new-ball partnership looks set to tackle defending champions the Sydney Sixers at the Sydney Cricket Ground when the first game of the 2012-13 BBL gets underway on December 8.
Dirk Nannes is one of those new faces.
The former Australian left-arm quick is a handy pick-up for the Thunder.
The other is former Orange District Cricket Association cricketer of the year Chris Tremain.
It’s the biggest step up in Tremain’s young career to date.
Record crowds across the nation will be watching some of the world’s best batsmen and bowlers compete in the most popular brand of cricket Australia has seen since World Series Cricket stormed into power back in the 1980s.
Tremain can’t wait.
“I think the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of was at Kinross (Wolaroi School) when everyone came down at lunch time to watch us play,” Tremain said.
“I’m a little nervous because of the unknown but I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
The 20-year-old hasn’t had a lot of experience at the shortest form of the game.
That’ll change, however, when Tremain gets the opportunity with University of NSW in the upcoming Sydney Grade Cricket Twenty20 competition to work on his cutters, slow balls and slow bouncers in preparation for the BBL in December.
Tremain was hoping the tutelage of Nannes will also help him adapt to the Twenty20 game.
“Dirk Nannes, he is a very, very good bowler and I’ve heard on the grape vine he is a really good trainer and a good bloke. Hopefully he takes me under his wing a little bit and I can learn plenty off him,” the Yeoval product said.
Gayle and Afridi, two players with a wealth of experience on the international stage, are two others Tremain is keen to learn from.
“At the moment we’re pulling some pretty big name players from everywhere,” he said.
“Just to see how they train and carry themselves will be the big thing.”
The Sydney Thunder has also added Australian-based players Mark Cosgrove and former Mudgee cricketer Rhett Lockyear, Australian under 19s representative Gurinder Sandhu and Jason Floros, Luke Doran, Ryan Carters, Scott Coyte, Sean Abbott and Adam Coyte to its 2012-13 roster.