Twelve months after he made headlines for being named Sydney Thunder’s development rookie, 17-year-old Tanveer Sangha has been signed to the club’s KFC Big Bash League playing roster.
At 17-years-and-346 days, Sangha is Thunder’s youngest BBL recruit since Jake Doran (17-years-and-311 days) was signed in 2014.
Head Coach Shane Bond described the two-year contract as a “natural progression” for the teenager from Campbelltown in Sydney’s south-west.
Sangha, who impressed Bond for his ability to get in and mix it last summer with the squad’s hardened professionals, said he was keen to prove he could compete against the world’s most destructive T20 batsmen.
The teenager, who has represented Australia’s under-16s and 19s team, vowed to bowl “without fear” if Bond gave him a chance to play during BBL|09.
“You need to be mentally tough to bowl leg-spin in T20,” said Sangha. “You’re an attacking player, not a run-saving bowler.
“That means you need to attack even if you’re hit for a few boundaries. You need to understand the batsman risks a lot when they hit the ball in the air.
“I’ve found if a batter hits a good shot, I can learn what I need to do next time. It’s a matter of being mentally tough to keep throwing it up there and challenging the batsmen; to out-think them.
“I reckon the biggest thing as a leg-spinner is to back yourself – and your ability.”
Bond, who is preparing for his second season as Sydney Thunder’s Head Coach, cited Sangha’s attitude as one reason why he was targeted to become a member of the western Sydney team’s squad.
“He’s been touted in the NSW Pathways for a long time,” said Bond. “But it’s not just his talent, it’s also his temperament and cricket brain. Tanveer has all the elements we want.
“We were looking at adding Tanveer to the squad with Fawad Ahmed, but with Fawad now gone [to Perth] it was a natural progression to promote him.”
Bond said many young leg-spinners around the world, including Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan who made his international debut as a 17-year-old, had proven youth can master the intricate art of leg-spin.
“When it comes to Tanveer’s skill and ability, I have no problems thinking he can take the step up and play successfully in the Big Bash League,” he said.
“Even when he came into our team environment last year – and as young as he was – he just got stuck in.
“We have a lot of confidence he’ll be a very successful player, so we’re delighted to have him.”
Sangha, who fine-tuned his skills by training in the cricket nets at Ingleburn’s Memorial Oval with his father Joga, said he’d treat this BBL season as an opportunity to continue to learn and grow.
“I can’t wait,” said Sangha of attending his first training session. “There’s [spin bowler] Chris Green and all the top batsmen like Alex Hales and Callum Ferguson.
“I can’t wait to pick their brains.”
Sydney Thunder is set to open its ninth KFC Big Bash League campaign against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on 17 December, before playing its first game in Sydney on 2 January.
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