Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond hailed Arjun Nair’s re-signing with the club for the 10th edition of the KFC Big Bash League as a decision that completes one of the competition’s most versatile spin bowling attacks.
Nair, aged 22, will join forces throughout the 2020-21 season with fan favourite Chris Green; rookie Australia under-19 leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, and Jonathan Cook, whose right-arm leg-spin not only captured 13 wickets last summer, but it bamboozled some of the league’s most accomplished batsmen.
Bond described Nair’s skill, allied with his willingness to back himself regardless of the situation, as assets that will help provide Sydney Thunder’s season with an edge.
“Sydney Thunder is fortunate where, as part of our planning, we have a really nice group of local spinners,” said Bond. “What’s exciting is that apart from being very different [bowlers], they’re all multi-skilled as well.
“Arjun played quite a bit for us last season on the back of such things as stress fractures, and he did really well. It’s nice to have that continuity. I like that Arjun is a popular personality and is a lot of fun around the group.
“You want to keep these young players around. You want them to be happy in the environment, and that the club is one they love playing for.”
Bond said one of his most enduring memories from last summer was seeing Nair’s game step up another dimension.
“What you see in young guys is their cricket matures at different times, and I certainly saw it in Arjun’s game last year.
“He had a great opportunity with the bat last summer - he’s a more than capable batsman - and he played some very important cameos for us. He has a very different skillset as a bowler, and he’s still developing that while doing some very different things.
“That included Arjun bowling in the powerplay for the first time [last summer] and he was developing that skillset. I liked that he was really open to that. He did a good job for us, and hopefully we’ll get to showcase that again this season.”
Nair, who played his first game in Thunder colours as an 18-year-old, said signing his new deal was a commitment to what he openly describes as his “second home”.
“Sydney Thunder has been like a second home to me,’ he said. “I’ve been there for the last four years, and one year as a rookie.
“For me, playing in the Big Bash for the Thunder is a big deal and it means a lot. I’m from Sydney's western suburbs, and I’ve always loved the club.”
Nair - who five years ago was identified by former national captain Greg Chappell as one of Australian cricket’s brightest talents - said while he’s striving to improve as a player there was something that won’t change this summer.
“I want to keep improving and evolving, and adapting to each situation,” he said. “While I’d like to read the game slightly better, I’m always a confident person... I’ll back myself no matter what situation I’m in.”
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, Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain