Conquering nerves key to another thunderous Bash for Davies

Ollie Davies won't block many this season - but he has learnt to block out crowd noise at the crease

Sydney Thunder young gun Ollie Davies has revealed how he had to overcome debilitating nerves caused by large crowds to re-emerge as a consistent batting threat last summer.

Davies showed glimpses of his raw striking as a 20- and 21-year-old, but it wasn’t until the most recent KFC Big Bash season that the now 23-year-old developed into a player regularly able to take down opposition bowlers.

The hard-hitting right-hander was the Thunder’s most prolific batter in BBL|12 with 333 runs (at 27.75), striking at 133.73, in a season that the club made the finals but were defeated by eventual finalists Brisbane Heat in the Eliminator.

Davies is no certainty to feature in the Thunder’s season opener against Brisbane Heat on December 12 due to a hairline fracture of his pinky finger.

When he does take to the field, the young gun believes his ability to again ignore big crowds will be crucial to recapturing his form from last BBL season.

"I think over the previous years I got so nervous in front of big crowds, and last year I just felt like I was able to block that completely out," David told reporters.

"I remember one of my first games I played up at the Gabba and there would have been 30,000 people there and I was so nervous.

"Whereas this year I feel like I played at Optus Stadium in front of about 50,000 and I just was blocking it out.

"So yeah, I think I'm definitely a lot more confident than I was in those first two seasons and hopefully I can back that up again this year."

Davies dazzles with five straight sixes in cameo

Since smashing five consecutive sixes in just his second Big Bash match in December 2020, Davies has been flagged as a potential Australia international in future.

However he suffered from the second-season blues; in 12 matches during the following 2021-22 summer, Davies recorded a top score of 26 across club cricket, Toyota Second XI, Marsh One-Day Cup and the BBL.

But since getting back on track in BBL|12, something he attributes also to "not overthinking" things, Davies has started to thrive again.

A maiden first-class century came in his first Sheffield Shield match this summer followed by three consecutive 60-plus scores, seeing him emerge as NSW’s highest run scorer in the competition despite playing just three of their six games to date.

While admitting another niggling injury heading into BBL|13 was frustrating, Davies was confident of making an impact again for the Thunder.

Davies delights with maiden Shield ton to lead NSW reply

"I reckon the last four Big Bash years, I've gone in with something wrong; I broke my wrist first year, then I broke my thumb, then I had hip problems last year and now I've broken another finger," he said.

"So look, it's not ideal, but I've managed to get up for each season and hoping that … if I'm fit to go first game then I should hopefully be flying and able to play every game."

During the off-season his younger brother Joel, who Ollie shares a close relationship with, was lured to cross-town rivals the Sixers.

The 20-year-old allrounder, a similarly hard-hitting batter and left-arm finger spinner, made his Big Bash debut alongside Ollie at the Thunder last summer as a replacement player, but was offered a three-year deal in magenta.

"I was trying for a long time to convince him to stay at the Thunder. I pushed real hard," Ollie said.

"But I obviously understand where he's coming from. I think that he's definitely going to get a bit more opportunity at the Sixers.

"We have Greeny (off-spinner Chris Green) and Tanveer (Sangha, Australia leg-spinner) that (would) be playing ahead of him, and the Sixers have Sokky (Steve O’Keefe), who's probably only got another year or two left in him, and hopefully Todd Murphy's playing some higher honours.

"So I completely understand the decision to go to the Sixers, as much as I don't like it."

Green, who made his international debut in the fourth T20I against India in Raipur, has been handed the permanent Thunder captaincy in BBL|13.

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