Exciting Sydney Thunder batsman Jason Sangha has signed a one-year deal to stay with the KFC Big Bash League club he joined as a 16-year-old when he was selected as its 2016 Community Rookie.
Sangha, who turned 22 yesterday, signed his first BBL player’s contract in 2018 on the back of a breakout 12 months in which he excited the cricket world with some incredible performances.
He joined elite company at 18-years-of-age by becoming the second-youngest player behind the great Sachin Tendulkar to score a first-class century against England with a finely struck 133. At 19, Sangha scored his maiden century for the NSW Sheffield Shield team at the SCG.
In his debut for Thunder during BBL|08, Sangha dominated the Melbourne Stars attack to score memorable 63 off only 36 balls at Canberra’s Manuka Oval. The innings made him the competition’s youngest player to score a half-century.
Since then, the right-hander has endured what he called the ‘rollercoaster ride’ of professional cricket. However, he’s feeding off those experiences as he continues to mature as a player.
“I think you do learn a lot when you’re out of the side and you’re seeing other guys come through,” said Sangha, a proud product of Newcastle.
“For me, it’s just about working as hard as I can, and to just keep honing my craft and keep developing it.
“I’m really looking forward to another year with Sydney Thunder. I’m very grateful I’m back there again this summer after getting another opportunity.”
Sangha finished last season on a positive note, scoring an impressive Shield century in Wollongong for the NSW Blues against eventual champions Queensland. It was his first since 2018.
Thunder BBL List Manager Tim Cruickshank said Sangha’s conventional style provides the squad with tremendous security - and depth - as a top order batsman in the T20 format.
“I think anyone in cricket circles knows the quality of Jason as a player and I think he’s really shown that since he’s come on the scene as a young kid,” Cruickshank said.
“I think he can really play a role at the top of the order where he can score freely, and just playing good cricket shots.
“He’s proven he’s got shots all around the ground, and he can do that without having to improvise as much as other players.”
Sangha also bowls some handy leg-spin, and that’s one part of his game he continues to work on.
“It’s something I really want to take seriously,” said Sangha of the hours he’s spending in the nets tweaking his bowling. “I don’t necessarily want to be seen just as a batsman.”
For Sangha though, being part of Thunder Nation runs much deeper than ‘just cricket’.
As someone who takes great pride in his Indian heritage, he said the way the club engages the community is what drew him to Sydney Thunder from a young age.
“When I was in Newcastle, seeing how much the Thunder was a very family-oriented club, then experiencing what they do behind the scenes, and the way they engage the community was really inspiring,” he said.
“The Thunder Nation Cup is an example of how they try and connect the community through cricket.
“I’ve been extremely lucky to be part of some of the Thunder Leadership groups and activities, gone to schools, and spoken to leadership groups.
“I think what the Sydney Thunder do off the field is something that’s really special.”
Sydney Thunder BBL|11 Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Bayliss
Assistant Coach: Shawn Bradstreet, Chandika Hathurusinghe
Contracted for BBL|11: Usman Khawaja (C), Sam Billings, Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain