Blacktown cricketer Nazir Shinwari will represent Sydney’s Afghan community in BBL05 as he joins the Sydney Thunder as the club’s Community Rookie.

Shinwari’s signing comes as a result of his participation in the MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup, a community cricket tournament aimed at bringing together cricket enthusiasts from six cultural backgrounds. After each of the 6 respective MoneyGram Thunder Nation community rounds, Sydney Thunder selectors invited the standout players to attend a day of intense trials where, alongside Mark Waugh and General Manager Nick Cummins, would choose one player to be signed to Sydney Thunder as the Community Rookie for BBL05.

Shinwari, who both lives in and plays cricket for Blacktown, impressed selectors with his electrifying bowling and big hitting during the Community Rookie Trials held at Sydney University.

‘I love playing cricket, that’s what I do every day. I wake up and watch cricket or go to the nets and have a bowl and a bat,’ an excited Shinwari said after being presented with his playing jersey by Sydney Thunder Governor Mark Waugh.

Sydney Thunder Governor Mark Waugh credited the talent that was unearthed during this year’s MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup and the difficulty in selecting one individual to be signed to Sydney Thunder.

‘The standard was very high’, said Waugh.

‘There was a lot of good batsmen there, a couple of good fast bowlers. In the end, while it was a tough decision – and it always is as a selector – we chose Nazir.’

‘He bowls with good pace and gives it a whack with the bat so he’s the ideal T20 player’, said Waugh.

Michael Minassian, MoneyGram’s Senior Regional Director, highlighted MoneyGram’s excitement at once again partnering with Sydney Thunder for the tournament.

‘We think it’s a great concept and a way for MoneyGram to really sponsor those and give back to those communities that really support our money transfer product in Western Sydney,’ said Minassian.

‘It has been a great association for our brand and the Community Rookie is really the cream on the cake and we’re proud to be a part of it!’