Jordan Thompson is relishing the opportunity to play in the Big Bash after signing as an overseas player for Hobart Hurricanes.
The Yorkshire all-rounder has joined Harry Brook as two of the Hurricanes’ three overseas stars, Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane the other.
Thompson has arrived in Australia ahead of their first game on December 8 – the competition starts three days earlier – and believes continued flexibility will be key to his success in purple.
“I feel like it’s a good reward for the season I’ve had, although I wasn’t really expecting the opportunity,” said the 25-year-old ahead of his departure to Sydney earlier this week.
“To go out and play in a world-renowned tournament is something I’m incredibly excited about. It’s a great opportunity.
“I had a call with Adam Griffiths, their coach, for around about half an hour on Zoom at the end of September or start of October.
“He just explained the role and asked me how I thought I’d fit in.
“We spoke about my season in general to enable him to get a taste of what I’m like as a player.”
Thompson impressed with both white ball and red during the summer just gone.
In Yorkshire’s run to the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast, he hit 215 runs from 12 appearances added to 14 wickets. The latter haul was the Vikings’ joint best alongside Lockie Ferguson.
Thompson is developing into one heck of a cricketer, someone who always seems to make things happen.
Midway through the Blast, he was asked to move up from the lower middle order to bat at number three.
In his first game in that position, he crashed 74 off 35 balls against Northamptonshire at Headingley in late June. Earlier in the week, batting at seven, he hit a brilliant 66 not out to help recover from 50-5 to post 191-5 in a home win over Worcestershire.
“To be flexible is very important for me,” he continued.
“I don’t just want to be a hitter at the end, I want to be able to build an innings as well.
“I’d done that in a couple of innings prior to this year, one of them being against Derby at Chesterfield a couple of years ago (2019). I was in pretty early, got my first fifty and got us to a decent score.
“I knew I could do that all along, and it’s a skill I’ve developed over the last few years.
“I don’t just want to hit sixes and be a one-trick pony with the bat.
“Now I know I can do pretty much every role that is needed with the bat in T20 cricket – and with the ball as well.”
Having spoken to Hobart coach Adam Griffiths about his role, Thompson said: “I think it will be very similar to what you see me do for Yorkshire.
“I expect to be batting mid to lower order, as I usually do.
“With the batting line-up that’s in front of me, it’s very strong. So if I can come in and have an effect on the game at the end, that’s a good thing.
“With the ball, I know I can do all three roles in terms of powerplay, through the middle and death.
“I’m not sure I’ll be bowling in a definite area of the game. But when the ball’s thrown at me, I’ll do whatever role for the team. As I say, I need to be very flexible throughout.”
Another Englishman set to make his mark on the Big Bash!
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Thompson accepts that his batting is more developed in T20 cricket at present than his bowling, while it is the other way around in the Championship.
“It’s a tricky one,” he reasoned. “I feel in T20 cricket, you develop your change-ups – your slower balls – year on year. But people get to know what you bowl. Because of that, I think T20 cricket is a massive mind game.
“Every year, people get better at playing certain shots, sometimes in stupid areas, and picking those slower balls.
“Whereas in the Championship, it’s more of a patience game. You can sit in an area and bowl the same ball six, 12 or 18 balls in a row. It just takes a little mistake from the batsman and you’re in.
“In T20 cricket, you’re always trying to be one step ahead and have a bit less time to think because of that.
“Each year, you have to be sure of what balls you’re going to use and you have to do your research on each of the batters.”
Thompson is confident of contributing to a maiden BBL title for the Hurricanes over the next few months.
“With the squad we’ve got, there’s some serious firepower in there,” he said.
“Look at our batting line-up; D’Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, Ben McDermott, Peter Handscomb, Tim David and Brooky.
“On the bowling side, we also have a very strong attack; Riley Meredith, Sandeep Lamichhane, Nathan Ellis and Joel Paris.
“The thing is we have a lot of depth. When you look around, we have seven or eight bowling options with myself and D’Arcy Short and Tim David, who are more part-time spin options.
“That’s so important in a T20 squad and team.”
As an up and coming player yet to establish himself in Yorkshire’s first team, Thompson spent the winter of 2018/19 playing Sydney grade cricket with Mosman.
He was actually planning to train with his old club immediately upon arrival in Sydney, where he has flown to avoid 14 days of quarantine and wait for his Hobart team-mates.
“I was meant to be leaving a bit earlier, flying to Adelaide and isolating there. But, luckily, things have changed and I can get to Sydney with no quarantine,” he said.
“For the first week, I’ll be getting ready and waiting for the Hobart lads to come up to Sydney and train.
“We are based in Sydney for the first few weeks and travelling to and from Hobart or wherever else when needed due to border restrictions.
“I’ll probably catch up with a few of my old mates from Mosman and get a training session in with them.
“We’re having to fly to Hobart for game days and then fly back to Sydney just because of the rules around Covid. I think that’s until December 15.”
When Thompson was last in Australia, he got a taste of the Big Bash from the other side of the boundary rope.
He added: “I actually only managed to get to one game out there, a Sydney Thunder game, and it’s a fantastic spectacle.
“Given the time of year and the weather, it’s a massive competition for the Australian public.
“It’s definitely a competition I wanted to play in, but I didn’t expect it to come so soon. It’s a great opportunity.
“I’ve been to the SCG, but I’ve not played there. And we play the Sixers there second game, so that is something I’m looking forward to.”