According to reliable sources at cricket.com.au, Bancroft reached this decision last week and has been presented with an enticing three-year offer from the Thunder.
Bancroft’s outstanding performance during the previous Big Bash League (BBL) campaign with the Perth Scorchers had attracted interest from as many as six clubs.
Ultimately, the Thunder emerged victorious in the race for his signature, narrowly beating out competition from the Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Renegades.
Despite not initially being included in the Scorchers’ starting lineup for the first five games, the 30-year-old displayed exceptional batting prowess throughout the season, contributing significantly to the team’s consecutive championships and his personal first title in the competition.
Taking over from Englishman Adam Lyth midway through the season, Bancroft amassed an impressive 357 runs in 11 matches at an average of 51, showcasing a remarkable strike rate of 140, which surpassed his career T20 average by more than 15 runs.
Having spent eight years with the Scorchers, Bancroft’s selection in the team had been somewhat inconsistent. Recently, he secured a three-year extension with Western Australia for state-based competitions.
However, despite this commitment, his remarkable T20 form arrived too late, coinciding with a salary cap squeeze due to the Scorchers’ wealth of talented players. Other clubs, recognizing his potential, were able to present him with more financially lucrative offers.
With the Scorchers already boasting five Cricket Australia centrally contracted players and seven squad members with international experience for the upcoming season, Bancroft would find himself ranked below esteemed players such as Mitch Marsh, Ashton Agar, Josh Inglis, Ashton Turner, Jhye Richardson, Aaron Hardie, and Lance Morris in terms of priority.
However, joining the Thunder could present Bancroft with an exciting opportunity to take on wicketkeeping duties, as he filled in for an unwell Josh Inglis during a Marsh Sheffield Shield match between Western Australia and Tasmania in February.
While the future of several prominent players remains uncertain, it is widely expected that Chris Lynn and the BBL|12 player of the tournament, Matt Short, will both choose to re-sign with the Adelaide Strikers.
Furthermore, there are rumors circulating that Peter Siddle, who recently returned to his home state of Victoria to compete in state competitions, may be considering a move to one of the Melbourne clubs.
On a positive note, it seems that the Brisbane Heat are on the brink of securing a contract extension with Marnus Labuschagne, the top-ranked Test batsman in the world.
In another intriguing development, an eagerly anticipated trade involving Adam Zampa and Sam Harper between the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars respectively is expected to be finalized and formally submitted to the league in the near future.
As the cricketing world eagerly awaits the official confirmation of these exciting transfers and contract renewals, fans can anticipate an action-packed BBL|13 season, filled with top-tier talent and thrilling clashes on the field.