Tahlia Wilson has been ruled out of the Thunder's Women's Big Bash League season opener, but the reigning champions are convinced she won't remained sidelined for long.
The Sydneysiders on Friday confirmed that Wilson will miss Saturday night's clash with the Strikers due to a minor leg injury.
"It's only a mild strain, but with a dense competition ahead of us we decided not to take any risk with it," coach Trevor Griffin said.
"Tahlia will be a bad loss for us, she brings so much to the team, but we think sitting her out for one game is a great course of action."
The news came on a chaotic day for the WBBL, with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announcing a snap three-day lockdown for the state's south after a COVID-positive traveler fled hotel quarantine. It led to emergency talks being held between Cricket Australia and the Tasmanian government, but the Mercury understands games will go ahead behind closed doors this weekend.
The Thunder will be keen to start their campaign off on the right foot after an active off-season. The franchise signing's spree included acquiring Indian international stars Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma, as well as snaring promising England speedster Issy Wong.
Albion Park's Wilson, 21, believes the trio of recruits will complement the Thunder's young squad.
"Having Shabnim Ismail going down (with injury) was a big loss, but I think Issy is going to do a good job opening the bowling and showing us the heat that she has. We saw the two Indians in action here against Australia and it was nice to see them have so much success. I can't wait to get out out on the field and have them on my team," the wicketkeeper said.
"I think we've done a good job. We've maintained pretty much our whole squad, besides a change in internationals. We're building a good nucleus of domestic players which puts us in good stead for this season and for seasons to come because I think we do have one of the younger squads among the Big Bash teams. I think we're in a really good place heading into the tournament."
The Thunder returned to the field on Monday for a practise match. Wilson spent some valuable time at the crease, while she also donned the gloves for 10 overs. After being stuck in quarantine for a fortnight, it was a great opportunity to blow out the cobwebs ahead of the Strikers battle.
For Wilson, getting off to a positive start will set up their whole WBBL campaign. After their opening two games were washed out last season, the Thunder won four of the next five games on their way to finishing third, before going on to defeat the Stars by seven wickets in the final.
"In a competition like this, when it's in such a short space of time, it's crucial to get off to a good start. You get a lot of momentum in those tournaments and that's what takes you through. It's what happened to us last year. We had a good start and then had a bit of a rollercoaster in the middle, but towards the back end, we had a momentum shift that went our way again," Wilson said.
"Hopefully we can get off to another good start this year and then you can cruise through the middle part. You can try win as many games as you can, but if you start well, and for some reason something doesn't quite go right during the middle, you're not stressing because you need to try and make up points."
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