Andre Russell praises the 'big heart' of Tanveer Sangha after BBL battle

Although Sydney Thunder lost, the young legspinner stood up well under pressure

Andre Russell and Sam Billings share contrasting smiles after the ball hit the stumps but the bails didn't come off, Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars, BBL 202-21, Sydney Showground Stadium, December 12, 2021

Andre Russell and Sam Billings share contrasting smiles after the ball hit the stumps but the bails didn't come off  •  Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Superstar Andre Russell has become the latest authoritative source to heap praise on Tanveer Sangha, declaring the young spinner has a big heart and a bright future.
Russell and 20-year-old Sangha, who only made his BBL debut a year ago but has already been part of Australia's Twenty20 squad, went head to head in a thrilling over at Showground Stadium on Sunday night.
A well-set Russell had taken the power surge and was eyeing the boundary, with Melbourne Stars needing 35 runs from 36 deliveries at that juncture.
Russell emerged victorious, heaving one ball back over Sangha's head and into the stands as he marched Melbourne to a six-wicket win over Sydney Thunder.
But Sangha, having already dismissed Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell, was denied the scalp of Russell in cruel fashion when he edged the ball onto his foot and the stumps, only for the bails to somehow remain in place.
"The ball hit the stump - like hard...happy to still be batting and have a laugh about it," Russell said.
Sangha could be a bolter in Australia's Test squad for tours of Pakistan and India next year, having enjoyed a productive start to the domestic season in all three formats. Russell, one of the most in-demand T20 guns for hire on the franchise circuit, was suitably impressed and made a point to seek out the tweaker after play.
"I commended him and I said 'listen, you have a big heart and I like spinners that are not afraid to bowl to big hitters'," he said. "He was doing really really well. He was bowling into my body and mixing his pace.
"He's not afraid to bowl in the power surge over to me...he did well, so hats off to him. He just has a bright future. He has a long way to go and if he can be doing this, now, he's just improvement [to come]."
Sangha was chuffed to hear Russell's feedback. "Obviously best in the business, it's always good to get some stuff like that from him," he said.
Sangha relished the chance to test himself against one of the best T20 batters in the world.
"He [captain Chris Green] is like, 'do you want it?'. I'm like, 'yeah 100 percent I want it'," he recounted. "I know there's a lot of pressure. But I just want to compete in the big moment, have the ball."
Sangha last month claimed 4 for 21 to spin New South Wales to a crushing one-day win over Victoria. Victoria coach and former Test opener Chris Rogers, having previously mentored Sangha at Under-19 level, noted at the time that he was "going to do some very good things".