Sandhu keeps belief on Thunder BBL return

Ex-ODI bowler Gurinder Sandhu is back at the Sydney Thunder where he is hoping to rise again.
Ex-ODI bowler Gurinder Sandhu is back at the Sydney Thunder where he is hoping to rise again.

Gurinder Sandhu kept reminding himself during his darkest days he was good enough to be an international cricketer.

The two-time ODI quick kept telling himself that in Queensland grade cricket last summer, and will repeat the mantra in his Big Bash reprieve this season.

Sandhu will return to the BBL this season after being brought back to the Sydney Thunder on a one-year deal by Trevor Bayliss, one of his first coaches.

The right-arm quick will fill the last spot on the club's roster after only getting a contract as an injury replacement player at the Sixers last season.

It caps a remarkable fortnight for the 28-year-old, who took 6-57 in the Sheffield Shield against South Australia and backed it up with a one-day hat-trick for Queensland.

It's a far cry from where he was last summer - without a state contract, playing grade cricket for South Brisbane.

"It's probably just naturally who I am a little bit. Always thinking of the positives," Sandhu told AAP.

"Playing for Australia back in 2015, it gives you that bit more belief.

"If that's what my best cricket looks like, playing one-day cricket for Australia, then if I can get back there why wouldn't I try and get back to that level.

"Having that to draw on has helped massively as well."

Sandhu's move to Queensland came off his own bat, deciding to move north in 2020 after being let go by Tasmania and calling Bulls coach Wade Secombe himself.

The decision has paid off as he was encouraged to train with the Bulls squad through the 2021 winter before getting a reprieve this season.

"I've been able to get access to the strength-and-conditioning coaches and work with Andy Bichel with the bowling work," Sandhu said.

"It's like being a full-contracted player without a contract, which has been awesome.

"I wouldn't have had the start to the summer without that."

Sandhu's return to the Thunder comes after he played eight seasons with the club, before being told ahead of last summer he wouldn't be kept.

He returns in Bayliss's first season as Thunder coach, with the former England mentor the man in charge at NSW at the time when he rose through the ranks to play for Australia.

"I've definitely played my best cricket under him," Sandhu said.

"He gets a lot out of you because he lets you go about your business how you want to.

"He just observes and if sees anything he comes and has a chat to you and gives his two cents and his thoughts."

Australian Associated Press