Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond said the efforts of Alex Ross and Arjun Nair to slot straight into the team and make an impact after being called up for yesterday’s KFC Big Bash League match against Hobart Hurricanes spoke volumes about the spirit driving his squad.
Ross, who'd missed the previous five games after initially being sidelined by a groin injury, scored an unbeaten 44 off 33 deliveries to help the team post a winning total of 167. Nair, playing in his first match of the tournament, scored a handy 15 before taking 1-19 from three overs.
Bond said it re-enforced the squad’s edict to perform at every training session.
“We’ve talked about the need to keep pushing and training hard so when you get your opportunity, you’re ready to take it,” he said. “And it was pleasing that when they came in, they hit the ground running.
“That’s really important in a squad. We have a very good, strong squad and it's nice to have guys who can come in and perform immediately. We’ve had some great contributions so far, but the most pleasing thing from a coach’s perspective is everyone is chipping in.”
Bond singled out fast bowling all-rounder Nathan McAndrew for his Man of the Match performance against the Hurricanes. The 27-year-old continued with his stellar form by removing Hobart’s openers – and danger men – Darcy Short and Ben McDermott on his way to taking 2-25 from four overs.
“I’m really delighted for Nathan,” said Bond, a former pace bowler for New Zealand’s national team. “It was a strong bowling performance, and his early wickets turned the game for us. His intensity, the way he ran in against the Hurricanes, was what we wanted from him – and he delivered.
“He’s a very good cricketer: a good fielder, batter and he certainly bowls with pace. You can see his cricket is on the up-and-up, and it’s a huge boost for his confidence.”
Meanwhile, Bond confirmed Daniel Sams was unavailable for the match against Perth as a result of the concussion he suffered when a ball struck his helmet against the Heat in Brisbane.
“He’s feeling good, but it’s really important we give him time to ensure he’s fully recovered,” Bond said. “His health is the priority. As I said to him: ‘it’s not a matter of feeling good, it’s what might happen if you take another whack in the head.’"
Meanwhile, Bond said he and the squads' thoughts were with their supporters in Sydney after the League announced Sydney Thunder would play its next two games in Canberra due to border closures.
“As a squad we gained a lot of confidence from the way we played in Canberra [winning four from five matches]; we’re familiar with the conditions; the crowd is great and they’re right behind us; we all know the hotel we’ll stay at is comfortable... but I’m devastated, really gutted, for our fans in Sydney.
“All of the squad are reading messages that they’re happy with the way we’re playing, and it’s cruel that they haven’t had the opportunity to turn out to Sydney Showground Stadium to cheer us on. We get the feeling they’re proud of us, and we are grateful for their great support.”
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Sydney Thunder Squad vs Perth Scorchers at Optus Stadium
Callum Ferguson (12) (C)
Sam Billings (7)
Jonathan Cook (50)
Ben Cutting (31)
Ollie Davies (9)
Brendan Doggett (35)
Matt Gilkes (22)
Chris Green (93)
Alex Hales (6)
Baxter Holt (27)
Usman Khawaja (18)
Nathan McAndrew (44)
Adam Milne (10)
Arjun Nair (24)
Alex Ross (49)
Jason Sangha (32)
Tanveer Sangha (17)
Chris Tremain (20)
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