The Big Bash League unveiled its Team of the Tournament on Thursday morning, featuring the T20 competition’s best cricketers from the 2020/21 season.
The team was selected by the eight BBL head coaches, and featured a powerhouse batting attack along with six bowling options.
Despite not qualifying for the finals series, three Melbourne Stars players were named in the 13-man squad, more than any other franchise.
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But one absentee left many cricket fans scratching their head.
TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT.
It's official! The BBL coaches have selected the following players as the very best of #BBL10 🙌 pic.twitter.com/jPME2nDvPd
Playing in his maiden BBL tournament, Sydney Thunder spinner Tanveer Sangha claimed 21 wickets during the regular season at an average of 16.66.
But despite being the equal third-highest wicket-taker of the summer, he was a notable absentee from the Team of the Tournament, with Adam Zampa and Rashid Khan chosen at the strike spinners.
The 19-year-old Sangha took more wickets at a better average and strike rate than both Zampa and Khan this season.
Sangha’s snub is all the more surprising considering he has equalled the highest tally of wickets for a spin bowler in a BBL tournament, a record he will almost certainly break on Sunday evening.
MOST WICKETS BY SPINNERS IN A BBL TOURNAMENT
21 — Steve O’Keefe (SIX), BBL08
21 — Tanveer Sangha (THU), BBL10
20 — Adam Zampa (STA), BBL09
19 — Rashid Khan (STR), BBL08
19 — Rashid Khan (STR), BBL09
19 — Adam Zampa (STA), BBL10
But Sangha isn’t remotely fazed by the snub, and is focused instead on helping the Thunder secure their second BBL title.
“It doesn’t really bother me at all,” Sangha told news.com.au.
“We’ve beaten every team in this competition I think, and we know what our team is capable of.
“We know we can perform under pressure, so I really reckon we have the best squad to perform under pressure in the finals.
“I definitely think we can win the comp if we perform at our best.”
Tanveer Sangha of the Thunder.Source:Getty Images
Before Sangha had even made his BBL debut, Thunder teammate Alex Ross had identified the teenager as a future superstar of the sport.
“We really hadn’t seen much of him, but he was signed last year,” Ross told news.com.au.
“He came in for the first couple of nets sessions — I face a lot of spin because that’s a lot of what my role is in Big Bash — and I faced him and said to (Thunder coach Shane Bond), ‘You’ve got to pick this guy, He’s an absolute superstar’.
“And he’s just proved us all right with the way he’s gone about it this Big Bash.”
The leg-spinner caught the attention of national selectors, and on Wednesday was named in Australia’s T20 squad for the upcoming tour to New Zealand.
There’s a strong possibility Sangha could represent Australia before making his Sheffield Shield debut.
“It’s been the last couple of years that we’ve started to hear about Tanveer and now seeing him perform in the Big Bash and performing very well at a young age is very exciting,” national selector Trevor Hohns told reporters on Wednesday.
“We have high hopes for him going forward, however we don’t want to put too much pressure on a young player, especially a leg-spinner, because as we know it’s hard for young players.”
Tanveer Sangha of the Thunder jumps on the back of Daniel Sams.Source:Getty Images
National selector George Bailey informed Sangha of his selection earlier this week, which came as a genuine shock for the leggie.
“I definitely was excited, because I didn’t see it coming at all,” Sangha said.
“First person I called was my dad … he didn’t really say anything at first, but then he was saying how excited and proud he was.
“I’m always looking forward to a new challenge and a new experience, because I know I’m going to learn a lot from a new experience, something that challenges me and makes me uncomfortable.
“I definitely reckon I’ve improved from game one to where I am now.
“It’s not just my fielding, but my game awareness as well — having my field set to different batsmen.”
Sangha represented Australia at the U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa last year, where he was comfortably the team’s highest wicket-taker with 15 scalps at 11.46 and an economy rate of 3.58.
Ross believes the Thunder young gun is “without a doubt good enough” to succeed on the international stage.
“It’s so exciting to see the youth get a go,” Ross said.
“We could all tell there was something up (on Tuesday) when he had a smile all over his face … you couldn’t wipe off that smile.”
The Thunder will take on with the Brisbane Heat or Adelaide Strikers at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Sunday evening in The Knockout.
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