Gurinder Sandhu to become first ever male Indian-origin cricketer to represent Australia
Gurinder Sandhu of New South Wales and Sydney Thunder has been rewarded for his showing in the ongoing Big Bash League with a call-up to the Australian ODI squad for the tri-series involving India and Australia. The 21-year-old has not been selected for the World Cup and his inclusion is a cover for pacer Mitchell Johnson, who is expected to return in the later stages of the tournament.
Sandhu had caught wide attention after a great showing in the 2012 U-19 World Cup in Australia, where he had picked up 10 wickets in six matches at an economy rate of 3.47. The right-arm fast-medium, with roots in Punjab, has been seen to use his height to generate extra bounce to trouble batsmen, and he also can swing the ball both ways.
Sandhu has taken 52 wickets in 29 List A matches at an average of 24.36 and an economy of 4.92.
A statement released by Cricket Australia said, "Given the heavy workloads undertaken by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood during the fourth Test, and the hamstring problems recently suffered by Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Marsh, the selectors have named South Australia's Kane Richardson and New South Wales seamer Gurinder Sandhu as extra bowling options for the early matches of the tri-Series."
The tri-series begins on January 16 with Australia taking on England at the SCG. India start their campaign on January 18 when they take on Australia at the MCG.
Loved watching Tendulkar bat: Sandhu
On the occasion of being selected for the U-19 Australia squad in the 2012 World Cup, Sandhu had said, "When I was growing up, I loved watching Sachin Tendulkar bat, but a guy like Glenn McGrath was also a real idol of mine. I'm just so happy I'm getting the chance to play for Australia.
Reportedly, his father Iqbal's job as a taxi driver allowed him to ferry Sandhu around to cricket matches at all the junior levels.
“My dad was from the Punjab region and he came to Australia looking for a better life.
“My family is really proud of me and my extended family network in India have been really supportive.”
Australia had their first Pakistan-origin cricketer in Usman Khawaja, and are set to hand a debut to their first male Indian-origin cricketer, and to play him for the first few matches in the tri-series as of now.
Interestingly, pacer Stuart Clark was born to Anglo-Indian parents who hailed from Chennai and Bangalore. In 2001, Lisa Sthalekar became the first Indian-origin cricketer, either male or female, to play for Australia at international level.