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Thunder cavalry arrives for Gayle in BBL
Joe Barton
15:07 AEST Thu Dec 27 2012

West Indian master blaster Chris Gayle has finally found a high-profile teammate to help him resurrect the Sydney Thunder's Big Bash League season, with England Test and one-day star Matt Prior drafted in for the rest of the summer.

Like Gayle, Prior is getting the rock star treatment and will stay at the five-star Quay West building - successfully avoiding being placed with the lower-profile teammates who have been put up in serviced apartments in Parramatta.

The Thunder have looked rudderless this season, failing to win a game at the tournament's halfway mark with even Gayle unable to register a significant knock - posting scores of 12, 8 and 13 to date.

But while Prior says he's not the Thunder's saviour, the 30-year-old will provide a valuable batting ally for Gayle, something the Thunder, who have not passed 150 all tournament, are desperately in need of.

And Prior says he is keen to spend as much time as possible in the middle with Gayle - a prospect he described as mouth-watering.

"To have the opportunity to bat with a player like Chris in Twenty20 cricket is pretty mouth-watering," Prior said on Thursday.

"So hopefully we can get stuck in and get some runs on the board.

"... I'm excited to be playing with him for a change rather than against him.

"Because you know a player like Chris can take the game away from you very, very quickly.

"A few low scores won't worry him, I'm sure. A player of his class, it's only a matter of time before he'll come good.

"And when he does come good, it's usually in pretty awesome fashion. I'm sure it's just around the corner."

And if Gayle can pass on any hints as to how to get the most out of the short boundaries at ANZ Stadium, or the best night spots to spend New Year's Eve, Prior will be all ears.

"I'll be trying to get everything I can off him. He's a phenomenal player," he said.

"He's the best in the world in Twenty20, this form of the game. I'll certainly be trying to tap him up for as many tips as I can.

"... I'm looking forward to (New Year's Eve) and I'm sure Chris has got a few parties lined up."

The Thunder next play Brisbane on Friday night at ANZ Stadium. The Heat are also desperate to add to their sole victory for the season, with another loss likely to end their finals hopes.

Coach Darren Lehmann retained the 13-man squad which narrowly lost to the undefeated Melbourne Renegades - with fast bowler Kemar Roach the danger man.

AAP jb/bh/a


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