Thunder set to splash cash to lock up Davies long-term
The Sydney Thunder are close to securing rising star Oliver Davies on a lucrative multi-year deal after showing glimpses of his impressive talent in debut KFC BBL season
23 February 2021, 05:31 PM AEST
Ollie Davies looks set to be richly rewarded for his eye-catching maiden KFC BBL season, with the Sydney Thunder believed to be in the box seat to re-sign him on a multi-year deal.
Captain Callum Ferguson departed the club in acrimonious circumstances earlier this month, but the Thunder's future appears bright with Davies likely to be locked in and efforts also underway to secure fellow prodigy Tanveer Sangha on a long-term contract.
It is understood the Thunder are hopeful Davies will commit to the end of BBL|13 on a deal that could make him one of the highest paid BBL players yet to turn to 21.
There is no suggestion Davies' expected re-signing precluded the Thunder from offering a new contract to Ferguson, who revealed his anger and shock at learning the club did not want him back after leading them to back-to-back finals appearances.
It is a sign of how much the cricket landscape has changed in Australia that Davies and Sangha are in high demand despite both yet to play first-class cricket.
Davies featured in just eight games in BBL|10 and was overlooked by the Thunder for the finals, but there is a growing feeling the right-hander could follow Josh Philippe's lead and become one of the league's stars.
The former Australia U19 vice-captain, who idolises Shaun Marsh and has Trinidadian heritage on his mother's side, set tongues wagging after scoring 36 off only 22 balls in a fearless debut against the Scorchers before hitting five consecutive sixes against the Renegades the following game.
He only managed six runs from his next five innings, including two ducks, but another cool-headed debut – this time for NSW in their Marsh One-Day Cup opener against Victoria last week – has only added to his reputation.
"He didn't look nervous, he just looked excited," Steve Smith, who worked with Davies on playing spin during the Blues' pre-season last year, said of the youngster after his 41-ball 57.
"Considering it was his first game, I thought he played smart cricket and played some nice shots. He will take a lot of confidence out of that."
Leg-spinner Sangha, who grew up playing junior cricket with Davies, is contracted through to the end of the next BBL season, and the club is expected to attempt to lock him for longer before BBL|11 gets underway.
The 19-year-old had not played a single BBL game before last season but finished it as the best performed spinner in the competition, taking 21 wickets at 18.28 with an economy rate a tick above eight per over.
It was enough to earn him selection in Australia's T20 squad that is currently in New Zealand, though Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar were the preferred spinners in their series-opening defeat on Monday.
He would be the first man to play international cricket for Australia before making his first-class debut since another Thunder alumni, David Warner, did it in 2009.
"He is ready (for international cricket)," Ferguson said of Sangha earlier this month. "He will get better and better. I'd love to see him get a taste sooner rather than later.
"He learns really quickly. He's been a pleasure to captain.
"Whenever we have thrown him a challenge – bringing another fielder in or trying a new plan which he might not have tried ever before – he's taken to it like a duck to water.
"They're certainly attributes you need to be successful at the international level in my experience and from what I've seen from the best in the world."