'Mature' Sangha determined to find consistency

Sydney Thunder young gun earns two-year contract extension after a breakout campaign in BBL|11 after two summers of running the drinks

Sydney Thunder young gun Jason Sangha is determined to find consistency in his Big Bash performances after signing a two-year contract extension to stay at Showground Stadium.

Sangha enjoyed a breakout campaign last season, topping the Thunder's run-scorers list after spending the previous two years warming the bench.

The 22-year-old, who has been at the Thunder since the age of 16 when he was recruited as a community rookie, will remain with the club until at least the end of the 2023-24 season.

The right-hander was a revelation in BBL|11 after a break of 1048 days between games, finishing as the tournament's fifth-highest run-scorer with 445 at 49.44, and said he relished the opportunity from coach Trevor Bayliss to go out and "express himself".

He was also elevated to captaincy duties for three games last summer with Usman Khawaja away with the Test team and Chris Green sidelined as a COVID close contact, and he said it was an easy decision to re-sign.

"It's been a couple of crazy years at the Thunder," Sangha said.

Image Id: E7EBC44A5F4549B6BEE97F8CC7CE1689 Image Caption: Sangha was the Thunder's leading run-scorer in BBL|11 after not being selected in the first three games // Getty

"People would know I had a couple of quiet years here.

"To go two or three years without playing a game to suddenly topping the runs, that just comes with a little bit of maturity.

"Having a couple of years where I wasn't playing, I had to really look at guys who had performed well like Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Usman Khawaja trying to pick (up) what they do, and for them it was just keeping it really simple.

"T20 is a game that fluctuates so much, there can be times where it's one metre between it going for six and being caught on the boundary.

"I don't really need to do anything crazily different (this season) but there is that bit of an expectation (to back up last season's form).

"I like having a little bit of pressure on me, I think it brings out the best in myself and I want to give Thunder fans some sort of consistency with batting."

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Sangha said the opportunity to work with a coach as experienced as Bayliss was invaluable.

"His CV speaks for itself; he's coached around the world, in the IPL and won a World Cup," he said.

"One of the reasons why I wanted to come back was because of the clarity and calmness 'TB' brings.

"He gives you the freedom to express yourself, but at the same time he's the first person to come to you when you need to hear some honest advice (and) feedback.

"That brand of player-coach relationship is something I've never experienced before, and what I appreciated is he understands the importance of clear and calm communication.

"To be able to share six to eight weeks with him during that BBL time … it's fantastic, not just for me but a lot of our other youngsters in the squad."

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With the Thunder able to keep the same core group of players over the past few seasons, Sangha said there was a lot of belief within the squad to go all the way this season.

"We've been so close so many times; we had a run of form of six wins in a row last season, so the belief is there, the faith is still there. T20 is one of those games where momentum can shift so quickly," he said.

"We definitely have the calibre of players … obviously 'Uzzie' (Khawaja) is gone but it's given a lot of opportunities for younger players."