Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond has described the recruitment of Ben Cutting to a two-year-deal as the signing that will add an extra dimension to his team during this summer’s KFC Big Bash League.
As revealed exclusively to Members last night, Thunder have traded in Cutting from the Brisbane Heat, the club where he established himself as one of T20 cricket’s star all-rounders. His wholehearted performances for Brisbane made him a crowd favourite as he became the Heat’s highest wicket-taker with 63 scalps and its second highest run-scorer with 1,199 runs at a formidable strike-rate of 145.50.
The former international, who represented Australia in both formats of limited overs cricket, said while there were compelling reasons for him to join the Thunder, there was one he couldn’t ignore.
“The people,” Cutting said. “A great cricket team is always made even better by the people that are part of it. I’ve always found in my experience that playing with good people breeds good culture and that breeds success... that’s one of the things that really attracted me to the Sydney Thunder.”
Cutting added that he didn’t expect it would take him long to adapt to Thunder’s culture or its playing roster because of some old friendships.
“I know most of the Thunder guys really well,” he said. “Obviously Brendan Doggett is a Queenslander; I’ve played a lot of cricket with and against Callum Ferguson over the last 10-15 year; I know Usman Khawaja really well – he’s going to be my best man for my wedding – and I know Chris Green from spending time with at tournaments across the world.
“Shane Bond was a very big factor in my move. I had ‘Bondy’ as a bowling coach at the Heat, alongside Dan Vettori, for quite a few years. He was also my bowling coach in the IPL at the Mumbai Indians.
“So, I know him really well and he knows me – and my game – really well. He knows how to get the best out of me. He’s very diligent, which is what I like... very professional and very diligent... but he’s someone who has a lot of fun in coaching as well which is what the Big Bash is all about.”
After playing in the Indian, Canadian, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Caribbean T20 leagues, Cutting said one of the best pieces of advice he could share with his new teammates was the importance of composure in pressure situations.
“It’s important to stay as relaxed and as in the moment as possible,” the 33-year-old said. “A game can spiral out of control so quickly so it’s important to try to keep a clear head, block the crowd and everything else out and stick to what you know and what you train for.”
Bond said while his respect for Cutting as a talented player and decent person were key reasons for his decision to target him, he added the Queenslander’s ability to bat at No. 6 and score runs quickly was just as crucial a ‘must-have’ as his bowling.
“We were looking to bring in some experience,” said Bond. “If you want to be there at the business end you need those experienced players, and we were also looking for players that can bring a unique skillset.
“There aren’t too many players in the Big Bash who can come in at six and strike the ball and score as fast as Ben can. He’s the best in the competition at doing that, I think. To have him come across to us to fill that role is massive.”
“His bowling on our wicket at Sydney Showground Stadium and his fielding is a bonus. He’s just a pro. He always looks after himself and is always prepared. We’ve got a really strong relationship and I think he’ll fit in brilliantly at our club. He’s going to fill a vital role for us.”
Sydney Thunder is set to open its tenth KFC BBL campaign on 5 December 2020 against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG, before playing its first game at Sydney Showground Stadium on 8 December 2020.
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Sydney Thunder BBL Squad
Head Coach: Shane Bond
Contracted for BBL|10: Callum Ferguson (C), Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain