Gurinder Sandhu says getting the chance to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be a “big bonus” as he bids to continue his whirlwind start to his cricket career.
The 21-year-old Indian-born Australian, who made his one-day international debut in January, is delighted to be going back home for the next six weeks after being signed by the Delhi Daredevils franchise.
The 6’ 6” tall pace ace hopes to take full advantage of the opportunity given to him, and make a name for himself on the grandest Twenty20 stage alongside new team-mates like Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews.
“I’m just here to learn whatever I can from the other players and coaches – batting, fielding, everything,” Sandhu, signed for Rs 1.7 crore despite a base price of just Rs 30 lakh, said last week.
“I’m lucky enough to be playing with Moises Henriques, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc. I’ve been talking to them a little bit (about the IPL). Also our bowling coach back home in Sydney is Geoff Lawson, who used to be Kochi Tuskers coach.”
He added: “I never expected to go for that much (money). So it was a big bonus. I will be playing alongside some of the big names like Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews. It will be really cool.”
Sandhu moved with his family from Punjab to Sydney in the 1980s. His father Iqbal was a taxi driver and used to drive his son to all his junior matches.
Sandhu soon made waves on the domestic circuit for New South Wales in 2012/13 and won their player of the year award despite playing only two Sheffield Shield and four Ryobi Cup games.
After call-ups to Australia A and the Prime Minister’s XI, he made an impact at the Bash Bash, Australia’s T20 competition, for the Sydney Thunder and went on to make his international bow against India, ironically, taking the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane.
The first man of Indian origin to represent Australia in an ODI can also bat too. In a recent Sheffield Shield match, Sandhu scored an unbeaten 97.
“When I think about the best moment of my debut, I can’t really get past the wicket of Rahane,” he recalled.
“I feel a little bit Indian a lot of the times. At home, I speak Punjabi with mum. We go to the gurdwara and the temple whenever we can, mum is always making daal and roti.
“I go to the parties and there is bhangra music, but most of my time is spent around cricket.”