Teenage batsman Jason Sangha has become the youngest player in history to be handed a New South Wales rookie contract, while fellow teen off-spinner Arjun Nair’s rapid rise has seen him earn a full Blues contract for the 2016-17 season.
Sangha, who is just 16 years and 233 days old, experienced a meteoric rise through the junior ranks last summer, making waves in the Under 19 National Championships as part of the Cricket Australia XI before being selected in Australia’s Under-19 team which met New Zealand and Pakistan earlier this year.
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Rated by Cricket Australia National Talent Manager Greg Chappell as one of the top juniors Australia has produced, Sangha also became the youngest player in 90 years to represent NSW in the Toyota Futures League.
He joins an exclusive club of Blues who have earned state contracts while still in high school, with only Josh Hazlewood and Jake Doran to have achieved the feat before him.
Meanwhile Nair’s contract is just reward for a successful summer in blue which saw him make his first-class debut as a 17-year-old during round eight of the Sheffield Shield.
He went from Under-19 state selection to playing for NSW inside three months, while he was also rewarded with a Community Rookie spot on the Sydney Thunder list in the KFC Big Bash League.
In other changes to the NSW squad, top-order batsman Ryan Gibson and wicketkeeper Jay Lenton have both earned full contracts for 2016-17 after dominant summers in Sydney’s First Grade competition.
Sydney Thunder off-spinner Chris Green and Australian Under-19 fast bowler Liam Hatcher have been handed rookie contracts.
Rookie opening batsman Daniel Solway has been delisted, while the Blues have also lost Shane Watson following his retirement from first-class and one-day state cricket.
Cricket NSW Chief Executive Andrew Jones said the injection of youth into the NSW squad was exciting.
"NSW has a long tradition of backing young talent and we are delighted to be able to bring Jason Sangha, Arjun Nair, Liam Hatcher and Chris Green into the Blues squad this summer,” Jones said.
"Along with Mickey Edwards, Jonte Pattison and Henry Thornton, these rookies have a tremendous amount of potential and we look forward to seeing them develop under the guidance of the Blues coaching staff and senior players.
"The Blues had a solid summer in 2015-16, winning the Matador BBQs One Day Cup and achieving the best win-loss record in the Sheffield Shield. The squad also supplied the majority of the Australian Test team. Our challenge now is to build on this momentum, to defend the Matador Cup and win the Sheffield Shield."
The NSW Blues squad will return to pre-season training at the start of June.
NSW Blues squad Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Carters, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Ed Cowan, Pat Cummins (CA contract), Ben Dwarshuis, Ryan Gibson, Josh Hazlewood (CA contract), Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques, Josh Lalor, Nick Larkin, Jay Lenton, Nathan Lyon (CA contract), Nic Maddinson, Arjun Nair, Peter Nevill (CA contract), Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu, Steve Smith (CA contract), Will Somerville, Mitchell Starc (CA contract), David Warner (CA contract)
Rookies Mickey Edwards, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher, Jonte Pattison, Jason Sangha, Henry Thornton