ACA Player of the month - March April 12, 2013

Emerging Sandhu wins another award

24

Gurinder Sandhu began the 2012-13 season with a state rookie contract for the first time and modest goals in mind. By the end of the summer he had represented Australia A and the Prime Minister's XI, played all three formats domestically, and won the Steve Waugh Medal as the best New South Wales player of the domestic campaign. That would be enough to satisfy anyone in their debut season.

But there is one final honour heading Sandhu's way: he has been voted the Australian Cricketers' Association Player of the Month for March. It has been an incredibly rapid rise for Sandhu, a 19-year-old fast bowler who first emerged in the BBL in December while playing for the Sydney Thunder. Last year he was part of Australia's Under-19 World Cup team; over the coming year a call-up to the senior side is not out of the realms of possibility.

"At the start of the season I would have been happy just playing a couple of Ryobi Cup games," Sandhu told ESPNcricinfo. "I played four of them and then a couple of Shield games at the end of the season and that topped it off even better. The Australia A games came out of nowhere, a bit like the Prime Minister's XI game. I just ran with it all and tried to do my thing."

And Sandhu's thing is to take wickets. In six one-day games - including two for Australia A against the England Lions - he has collected 18 wickets at 14.22 and in his two Sheffield Shield appearances he has managed 14 victims at 11.85. At 194 centimetres, Sandhu uses his height to gain bounce and he has shown that he can swing the ball both ways.

"I like to keep the batsman guessing," he said. But Sandhu knows there is plenty of room for improvement. He and another young New South Wales fast bowler, Chris Tremain, recently travelled to Perth for some sessions with Dennis Lillee and Sandhu said Lillee had helped him with some technical issues, including a tweak to the way he positions his front arm.

Of course, Sandhu is of a generation that has only heard of Lillee's exploits rather than witnessing them first hand. The men he wants to emulate are much more modern. Although he hopes to bowl in a similar style to Glenn McGrath, hitting a consistent spot and nibbling the ball around a fraction, Sandhu also sees Andrew Flintoff as another role model.

"He's a pretty big guy as well and I'm trying to work on my batting to become a bowling allrounder," Sandhu said. "Maybe one day."

An innings of 45 against South Australia in his second Shield match showed that there is some batting potential there, although he is yet to score a half-century in first-grade cricket for Fairfield-Liverpool in Sydney. He is not the only Sandhu to have played at the top level for that club: his younger brother Harmon Sandhu made his first-grade debut this summer.

"He filled in for me when I played the couple of Shield games," Sandhu said of Harmon, who is also a fast bowler. "He played two games before the end of the season. He's not as quick yet, he's only 16 at the moment. Hopefully maybe this year we might play a couple of games together."

The Sandhu brothers were born in Australia after their parents Iqbal and Mukhtyar, originally from Punjab in India, moved to Sydney in the 1980s. Iqbal's job as a taxi driver allowed him to ferry the boys around to all their junior cricket matches, a commitment that has paid off handsomely given his son's success this season.

And while Sandhu dreams of one day earning a baggy green, his ambitions for the coming year - which should feature a stint at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane and a trip to the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai - are more grounded.

"Hopefully I can cement my spot in the New South Wales team in the Ryobi Cup and the Sheffield Shield and then any higher honours are a bonus, like any more Australia A games," Sandhu said. "One day if I could play for Australia it would be pretty nice."

Sandhu received 23.5% of the votes for the ACA's Player of the Month award for March, ahead of Michael Hussey on 21.6% and Ryan Harris with 11.8%.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on April 12, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    He will play for Australia, sooner than most think, it might not be the, Baggy-Green, in the short term. But he will play 20/20, and one day internationals, for Australia, very soon. Let`s not put too much pressure on the young man, he is only 19, and still growing, and developing. I have loved watching Gurinder, from the first day i seen him play, with the under 19 team, in Queensland, his accuracy, and steepling bounce, is up their with a young `Glenn McGrath. Watch this space, because `Gurinder Sandhu`, is a future star of Australian Cricket.

  • spurs3152 on April 17, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Hi Gurinder, congratulations for the award. Wish you all the best. Best wishes for playing for Australia ( Baggy Green ) - From Shirish Kotecha

  • on April 16, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Sigh...one good fast bowler born to indian parents and he ends up in australia... :(

  • Meety on April 16, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    @Chris_P on (April 15, 2013, 1:40 GMT) re: - "...outperform probably 10 bowlers..." - or it could be just to OUTLAST 10 other bowlers! If you know what I mean!!!

  • Chris_P on April 15, 2013, 1:40 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter. Just to confirm. Sandhu is not Indian born, he was born in Blacktown, in the far western suburbs of Sydney. His bowling is coming along quite well, & as mentioned, his fielding needs some work. His batting is surprisingly good for a lower order batsman. For him to get into the Australian team, he will need to outperform probably 10 bowlers, but he is definitely a contender for the shorter form. He is a prospect, no doubt.

  • Mary_786 on April 15, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    David Brumby does make a good point, he needs to get a full shield season before we start putting unrealistic expectations on him, a few games doesn't entitle you to higher honours.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on April 14, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    he will play for Australia sooner than later as he has the get in the team free pass from nsw

  • Meety on April 14, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    He has a great knack for taking wickets. I'd prefer to see how he stacks up next season, although an A-tour to England would not be unreasonable. Good talent, & hope he is managed correctly from here, (stay away from 20/20)!!!!!

  • Dashgar on April 14, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    @David Brumby, the pitches may have helped but he still outshone players like Bollinger, Copeland and Hazelwood who have all played for Australia. He also dominated the under 19 WC. We know he's good and he's also began to put in the performances to prove it.

  • handyandy on April 14, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Another addition to Australia's swelling ranks of fast bowlers.

    If only we could produce a few batsmen we would be world beaters.

  • on April 12, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    He will play for Australia, sooner than most think, it might not be the, Baggy-Green, in the short term. But he will play 20/20, and one day internationals, for Australia, very soon. Let`s not put too much pressure on the young man, he is only 19, and still growing, and developing. I have loved watching Gurinder, from the first day i seen him play, with the under 19 team, in Queensland, his accuracy, and steepling bounce, is up their with a young `Glenn McGrath. Watch this space, because `Gurinder Sandhu`, is a future star of Australian Cricket.

  • spurs3152 on April 17, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Hi Gurinder, congratulations for the award. Wish you all the best. Best wishes for playing for Australia ( Baggy Green ) - From Shirish Kotecha

  • on April 16, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Sigh...one good fast bowler born to indian parents and he ends up in australia... :(

  • Meety on April 16, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    @Chris_P on (April 15, 2013, 1:40 GMT) re: - "...outperform probably 10 bowlers..." - or it could be just to OUTLAST 10 other bowlers! If you know what I mean!!!

  • Chris_P on April 15, 2013, 1:40 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter. Just to confirm. Sandhu is not Indian born, he was born in Blacktown, in the far western suburbs of Sydney. His bowling is coming along quite well, & as mentioned, his fielding needs some work. His batting is surprisingly good for a lower order batsman. For him to get into the Australian team, he will need to outperform probably 10 bowlers, but he is definitely a contender for the shorter form. He is a prospect, no doubt.

  • Mary_786 on April 15, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    David Brumby does make a good point, he needs to get a full shield season before we start putting unrealistic expectations on him, a few games doesn't entitle you to higher honours.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on April 14, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    he will play for Australia sooner than later as he has the get in the team free pass from nsw

  • Meety on April 14, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    He has a great knack for taking wickets. I'd prefer to see how he stacks up next season, although an A-tour to England would not be unreasonable. Good talent, & hope he is managed correctly from here, (stay away from 20/20)!!!!!

  • Dashgar on April 14, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    @David Brumby, the pitches may have helped but he still outshone players like Bollinger, Copeland and Hazelwood who have all played for Australia. He also dominated the under 19 WC. We know he's good and he's also began to put in the performances to prove it.

  • handyandy on April 14, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Another addition to Australia's swelling ranks of fast bowlers.

    If only we could produce a few batsmen we would be world beaters.

  • on April 13, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    The guy played two shield games on green tops. Give me a break. This guy could not bowl on anything but green tops at the moment. He would be slaughtered.

  • Mervo on April 12, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    Well done for all his hard work. These things do not just happen. He is lucky he is in Australia. Unless he could bowl slow off spin, he would not have achieved a game in India.

  • Dashgar on April 12, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    The two big prospects are still Pattinson and Bird (plus Starc for ODIs) but you never can have enough young talent. Hopefully with this guy, Faulkner and others coming through we can see the end of Mitchell Johnson and move past the triers like Hastings, Copeland and Hazelwood.

  • blink182alex on April 12, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    @I-Like_Cricket - i see your point but a bowler should be picked for Australia if he is deemed good enough as a bowler, if he is a good fielder or not is a bonus, being a bad fielder should not decide whether a bowler should play or not.

    Will Bosisto was a rookie at WA i think this year, he only played a few Ryobi cup games and didn't do anything. But he looked good in the U-19 WC, and it is unfortuante that him and Joel Paris haven't had more games, this is one problem in only having 6 first class sides, that young players are often left out and don't gain experience early in their career. A talent like them would of played 16 Championship matches for a Leicestershire or Glouchestershire if they were English.

  • Moz. on April 12, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Ozcricketwriter - Sandhu isn't an Indian born fast bowler. Which part of "the Sandhu brothers were born in Australia" in the article did you miss??!!

  • Mitty2 on April 12, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    @Brendan Carter, those suggestions of comparison have already gone to bird! Not complaining of course; most people would take two mgcrath's in it's arsenal, let alone in it's attack.

    But on the injury front, with sandhu's type of bowling, and with the way he bowls from what I've seen, he doesn't look susceptible to injury, unlike pattinson and Cummings, so we can play him early. However I said bird was very durable right before he got the stress fractures in his back, so don't trust my word!

  • Mary_786 on April 12, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    @Amith_S well said, agree 100%

  • Amith_S on April 12, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    As a migrant growing up in Australia we have been fortunate to see folks from sub continent backgrounds make their mark in Australia. Khawaja is my favorite cricketer and I think he will be one of our best batsman in the coming years opening the doors for other kids from the same background to come through. Gurinder is following that example will hopefully follow in the same vein and get his baggy green, but i think he is a few seasons away, let the kid get some solid wickets in shield first.

  • on April 12, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Hmm I had played him back during in High school. He totally was committed from back then. Good on him !

  • Thefakebook on April 12, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    He is the real deal.But how will he make it to national team at the moment with so many quicks in contention for 3 spots??? A few injuries perhaps.

  • PrasPunter on April 12, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    @Mitty2, happy about our bowling stocks. Wondering why the batting lineup is not as impressive. Gone are those days when we use to have an line up with a 45+ average. I think we need to focus more on Shield to develop a line of batsmen who can face up to the challenges of test cricket. This is pretty much reflected by the fact that very few proper batsmen have been contracted. CA is missing a thing or two by not identifying a core group for the next 5 years or so and investing on them.

  • Ozcricketwriter on April 12, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    It may be a little ironic that while India are struggling to find a half decent fast bowler, an Indian born fast bowler is doing extremely well in Australia. There goes that stereotype! Maybe quality Indian fast bowlers in the Indian team will become commonplace in the future. Well done to Gurinder Sandhu. Let's hope that he keeps it up.

  • I-Like-Cricket on April 12, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    If he wants to play for australia then he's going to have to do A LOT of work on his fielding. He's worse than Khawaja was. Saw him last year at the U-19s WC though and it's great to see him now playing for NSW. Though the other player who caught my eye was Will Bosisto - the captain - he was dismissed once in the entire tournament and it was an unlucky run out. What happened to him? This is the problem in Australian cricket, 2 great young players come through at the U-19 level and one manages to get himself a state contract and the other played 1 or 2 games for his BBL franchise, it's no surprise that the fast bowler was the one who ended up with the contract.

  • Mitty2 on April 12, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    Saw him in the PM's XI game an he was bowling at a pace of 130-135km/h consistently; the first thing I noted was his accuracy and I thought he bowled much better than his figures of 0/59 showed on a renowned featherbed track (Manuka). I thought that because of his accuracy he would be more suited to first class, but then again he performed very well in the ryobi and against the (dismal) lions. My prediction of him succeeding in the shield was supported from just two matches, and he now makes up a long line of quicks who could all hold a test spot. Glad there's something we are superior to the poms in!

    Because of the pure number of quality quicks we have, you have the ability to categorize them. Sandhu now occupies the category of McGrath type accuracy at a decent pace with movement with bird, Sayers, butterworth and even Faulkner as a left armer, with bird being the best because of his pace. If ever the selectors needed evidence for hilfy's demise; he doesn't even make that category.

  • Mitty2 on April 12, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    Saw him in the PM's XI game an he was bowling at a pace of 130-135km/h consistently; the first thing I noted was his accuracy and I thought he bowled much better than his figures of 0/59 showed on a renowned featherbed track (Manuka). I thought that because of his accuracy he would be more suited to first class, but then again he performed very well in the ryobi and against the (dismal) lions. My prediction of him succeeding in the shield was supported from just two matches, and he now makes up a long line of quicks who could all hold a test spot. Glad there's something we are superior to the poms in!

    Because of the pure number of quality quicks we have, you have the ability to categorize them. Sandhu now occupies the category of McGrath type accuracy at a decent pace with movement with bird, Sayers, butterworth and even Faulkner as a left armer, with bird being the best because of his pace. If ever the selectors needed evidence for hilfy's demise; he doesn't even make that category.

  • I-Like-Cricket on April 12, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    If he wants to play for australia then he's going to have to do A LOT of work on his fielding. He's worse than Khawaja was. Saw him last year at the U-19s WC though and it's great to see him now playing for NSW. Though the other player who caught my eye was Will Bosisto - the captain - he was dismissed once in the entire tournament and it was an unlucky run out. What happened to him? This is the problem in Australian cricket, 2 great young players come through at the U-19 level and one manages to get himself a state contract and the other played 1 or 2 games for his BBL franchise, it's no surprise that the fast bowler was the one who ended up with the contract.

  • Ozcricketwriter on April 12, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    It may be a little ironic that while India are struggling to find a half decent fast bowler, an Indian born fast bowler is doing extremely well in Australia. There goes that stereotype! Maybe quality Indian fast bowlers in the Indian team will become commonplace in the future. Well done to Gurinder Sandhu. Let's hope that he keeps it up.

  • PrasPunter on April 12, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    @Mitty2, happy about our bowling stocks. Wondering why the batting lineup is not as impressive. Gone are those days when we use to have an line up with a 45+ average. I think we need to focus more on Shield to develop a line of batsmen who can face up to the challenges of test cricket. This is pretty much reflected by the fact that very few proper batsmen have been contracted. CA is missing a thing or two by not identifying a core group for the next 5 years or so and investing on them.

  • Thefakebook on April 12, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    He is the real deal.But how will he make it to national team at the moment with so many quicks in contention for 3 spots??? A few injuries perhaps.

  • on April 12, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Hmm I had played him back during in High school. He totally was committed from back then. Good on him !

  • Amith_S on April 12, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    As a migrant growing up in Australia we have been fortunate to see folks from sub continent backgrounds make their mark in Australia. Khawaja is my favorite cricketer and I think he will be one of our best batsman in the coming years opening the doors for other kids from the same background to come through. Gurinder is following that example will hopefully follow in the same vein and get his baggy green, but i think he is a few seasons away, let the kid get some solid wickets in shield first.

  • Mary_786 on April 12, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    @Amith_S well said, agree 100%

  • Mitty2 on April 12, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    @Brendan Carter, those suggestions of comparison have already gone to bird! Not complaining of course; most people would take two mgcrath's in it's arsenal, let alone in it's attack.

    But on the injury front, with sandhu's type of bowling, and with the way he bowls from what I've seen, he doesn't look susceptible to injury, unlike pattinson and Cummings, so we can play him early. However I said bird was very durable right before he got the stress fractures in his back, so don't trust my word!

  • Moz. on April 12, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Ozcricketwriter - Sandhu isn't an Indian born fast bowler. Which part of "the Sandhu brothers were born in Australia" in the article did you miss??!!