England Test skipper Joe Root has signed a two-year contract with Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) franchise Sydney Thunders in order to sharpen his T20 skills. Also Read - Dream11 IPL 2020: Ben Stokes Likely to be Available For Rajasthan Royals From Early October

Root,  who has an international T20 average of 35.77 which includes an unbeaten 90 against the West Indies earlier this year, will play in an overseas T20 league for the first time. The 27-year-old was snubbed by Indian Premier League (IPL) teams this year and also dropped from the England side for a match against India in July. Also Read - IPL 2020: Jos Buttler Will Miss Rajasthan Royals' Season Opener Against Chennai Super Kings

Root, who has played just 28 T20Is in six years, with six of those games at the World T20 in 2016, had expressed fears he could be “left behind” in the format if he did not play it more. Also Read - IPL 2020: Steve Smith, Jos Buttler And Jofra Archer Clear Mandatory Coronavirus Test

“I want to gain as much experience as possible in T20 cricket,” Root said in a statement on the Sydney Thunder’s website.  “I’m sure there will be some mixed emotions for the fans (with me signing) but hopefully I can win them over through the time there. There’s an opportunity for myself now to put in some strong performances and help Sydney Thunder go on and do some special things this year,” he added.

“Everyone you speak to that has played in the Big Bash finds it a really interesting tournament and watching it you can see that,” said Root. “You want to be involved in it and I’m really excited to get that opportunity with Sydney Thunder. I’ve had some really good experiences with Shane Bond in the past when I’ve worked with him and I’m really looking forward to doing that again,” he further said.

Root will be joined by Jos Buttler, who scored his maiden Test century this week. The 27-year old became a Thunder favourite after last year’s performances saw him average 33.66 and score two half-centuries in six games.

Buttler and Root are expected to be available for the first half of the season including four home matches, with Head Coach Shane Bond confident that the club now has one of the strongest batting lineups in the competition.

“It’s brilliant for the club to get two players of their quality to join us,” said head coach Shane Bond.