Australia news March 28, 2013

Gurinder Sandhu surprise winner of Steve Waugh Medal

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Gurinder Sandhu's rapid emergence as a pace bowler of substance has been underlined by his surprise plucking of the Steve Waugh Medal as the best New South Wales cricketer for 2012-13. Despite playing only two Sheffield Shield matches and four domestic limited-overs fixtures, 19-year-old Sandhu's 146 votes allowed him to edge Brad Haddin (143) and Trent Copeland (133) in the awards presentation at Doltone House in Sydney.

A fringe member of the squad at the start of the summer after playing for Australia at the 2012 Under-19 World Cup, Sandhu's bouncing fast medium was first glimpsed when he played for the Sydney Thunder during the Big Bash League. He subsequently earned one-day and Shield call-ups in the latter part of the summer, and swiftly made a striking impact.

In those two Shield games Sandhu collected 14 wickets, helping NSW to two outright wins that left them only narrowly short of qualifying for the competition final. In his limited-overs appearances he fared well too, also claiming 14 wickets to win the domestic one-day award. The Shield award was claimed by Copeland.

Sandhu's summer was also marked by representative duty for the Prime Minister's XI and the Australia A side that faced the England Lions, affording him a glimpse of higher honours that are sure to follow in time if he can maintain the cracking pace he set this season.

While Sandhu's success was a welcome reminder of the strong pace bowling stock presently available in NSW and Australia, it also reflected a season in which the Blues were barely sustained by a series of cameo performances across their squad.

Haddin enjoyed a fruitful season that culminated in his Test recall in India, making 468 runs at 52 with two centuries across seven matches in the Shield while claiming 19 catches and a trio of stumpings. Copeland also contributed consistently, nipping out 30 wickets at 26.86 and compiling his first Shield century against Tasmania.

Victoria and South Australia have also named their players of the season in end-of-year ceremonies. Chris Rogers took home his second Bill Lawry Medal as the Bushrangers' most accomplished cricketer in 2012-13, his 742 runs at 49.46 and three centuries vindicating the state's decision to re-sign the 35-year-old in the winter.

Chadd Sayers was named South Australia's cricketer of the year, winning both the Neil Dansie Medal as most valuable player and the Lord Hampden Trophy as best first-class performer for his prolific bowling feats in the Shield. Sayers, 25, reaped 48 wickets in nine matches and played a large part in making the Redbacks competitive again after some dismal recent summers at first-class level.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • zenboomerang on April 2, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Nothing against Gurinder, but getting the State award for playing just 2 FC matches does seem a bit rich given that Haddin has had such a good season with the bat & O'Keefe with his bowling...

    Still, good on him - he looks a very promising bowler & will again have NSW scratching their heads on who to leave out if all bowlers are fit... Just shows how crammed are the eastern States with extra players that could be fixed by adding a few more teams to the comp...

  • AKS286 on March 31, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @Edwards_Anderson on (March 31, 2013, 10:31 GMT) Fella two thing is missing is the S.Lankan spinner & African keeper. mendis, bandara, lokurachi, senayke for Aus thats gonna rock fella. ok my team- warner, cowan, khawaja, clarke (VC), tsolikile, j.botha (C), Dwayne smith, Sandhu, Siddle, pattinson, mendis.

  • Edwards_Anderson on March 31, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    @AKS286 love your sense of humour, i love the fact that we are producing south Asian players who are making their mark, Khawaja is already one of the best young batsman in the country and Sandhu can also develop into one. Funny thing is that Pakistan has traditionally been stron in bowling and India in batting though we now have a strong batsman from a Pakisan background(though his mum is Indian) and and a bowler from India, i think its great for cricket here.

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 31, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Gurinder Sandhu had a good first 6 one day domestic matches and a first 2 first class matches but the problem is that there are already many very good fast bowlers about, and Sandhu will have to do a lot more than that to get into the side. Jackson Bird only recently broke into the side and Alistair McDermott, who has been amazing for 3 years now, is still yet to get into the side. Chris Rogers not only is too old at 35 but is also injury prone. If Sandhu can keep up those figures for another year, or even half a year, then I expect Sandhu in the Australian side, but right now he needs to do a bit more for a bit longer. I also wonder if Sandhu is really fast enough to be penetrating on the big stage.

  • AKS286 on March 31, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Yes the expatriates, Ind needs sandhu & Pak needs usman khawaja he can fulfill the position of misbah ul heq. Sandhu for ishnt sharma.

  • RednWhiteArmy on March 31, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    I love all the aussie cricinfo selectors saying aus should have this person in & this person out. I didnt hear too much of it when you were playing SL, but now it seems the panic button has been hit & theres about 40 people in the cricinfo squad.

  • Johnny_129 on March 31, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    Aus should do a swap with India - trade Sandhu for an Indian batsman! Sandhu is of Indian descend - while Aus has lots of pace bowlers but lack batsman, India faces the opposite problem.

  • VivGilchrist on March 30, 2013, 23:41 GMT

    Think about it like this.... With selection for fast bowlers there are your automatic selections (if fit) on any tour - Harris, Siddle, Pattinson. Then you have the best guys according to conditions. For a UK tour you select guys who's bowling style suits these conditions - Sayers, Bird, Hilfenhaus, Starc, Faulkner, Butterworth. This list gets cut down to 6 (or maybe 7 if they choose one as a genuine 50/50 all rounder) who ultimately complement each other in forming the best balanced squad. Chuck in the two best spinners - Lyon and OKeefe. The two best keepers- (of constant debate). Then we choose the best batsmen vs the moving ball, especially important for the top 3, and the reason why Clarke should stay at 5.

  • hycIass on March 30, 2013, 23:21 GMT

    @Mary i have to go with your side as well, but i wouldn't leave Bird out, he will do well in India with his length and line.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 30, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    @Mary on top of your team i would also pick Johnson, he showed good form in Oz - and after sitting around in India,came in for the 4th test rusty and on a wicket offering nothing to pace bowlers. @Wefinishthis Khawaja is not too far from playing, Border, Waugh, Chappell all agree on that and lets hope he has a big one the ashes as he deserves, definitly one of my favorite emergin batsman. We've got 10 Tests coming up against an England team that will be chastened by its tour of NZ but which still looks too strong for us. And the ECB central contracts effectively rule England's top players out of the IGL. Pietersen is going to India, as are fringe players such as Morgan and Shah, but the guns will have time to refresh and reload.

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