Cricket NSW state talent manager David Freedman knows Newcastle’s Jason Sangha will be a long-term prospect for the Blues but he hasn’t ruled out a potential Sheffield Shield debut before the end of this season.
Fresh from an Under-19 World Cup campaign captaining Australia to Saturday’s final, Sangha returns from New Zealand this week to complete the summer on home soil.
Sangha plays grade with Sydney club side Randwick-Petersham and also has possible upcoming Futures League, or Second XI, commitments with ACT-NSW Country. However, with five Sheffield Shield matches remaining Freedman said there’s a chance the 18-year-old, now in his second contracted season, could debut for the Blues in 2017-2018.
“There’s no doubt Jason’s going to be an exceptional long-term player for us,” Freedman said.
“The fact we contracted him at such an early age  is a reflection on our high opinion of him.
“The fact we let him finish his schooling [last year] and now that he’s got that out of the way I think you’ll see him really flourish and devote his necessary time to cricket.
“And obviously coming out of that 19s carnival with that leadership experience, it will hold him in fantastic stead going forward.
“In regards to the immediate future, he hasn’t played a lot of four-day cricket yet and he’ll certainly have the opportunity to do that when he comes back through Futures League.
“Depending on how the [Shield] team is tracking there might be some opportunities for him later in the season.”
The Blues are top of the ladder and resume their campaign away against Western Australia on Thursday minus five Test players.
NSW then host South Australia (February 16) and Tasmania (February 24), are away to Victoria (March 3) and complete the regular rounds against Queensland at Wollongong from March 14.
Sangha, who played juniors at Southern Lakes and seniors at Wallsend, scored his maiden first-class century in a four-day tour match against England in November before the Ashes series.
He was Australia’s leading scorer at the recent Under-19 World Cup with 229 runs at an average of 38.16.
Earlier this season he posted two tons playing first grade for Randwick-Petersham.
Fifth-round Futures League fixtures are currently underway with ACT-NSW Country still set to host Victoria (February 19) and Queensland (March 5).
The Sydney club competition has three rounds left before the three-week final series starts on March 17.