Jason Sangha has declared himself ready to step up into the Australian senior cricket ranks as the 19-year-old edges closer to making his interstate debut for NSW.
The Newcastle-raised junior star was on Thursday named in the Blues’ 14-man, one-day squad for next week’s opening JLT Cup fixtures in Perth and Sangha said he now felt ready to transition out of age competition and onto the open domestic scene.
“Probably the last two years I’ve been contracted I never felt like I was ready to play professional cricket,” Sangha told the Newcastle Herald.
“I think actually having the season away from school and being with the guys in the Blues squad, I feel like I’m ready to play now for the Blues, I’m ready to play BBL and I’m just ready to have a really big season.
“I feel like my preparation leading into it, the confidence in my game and also knowing my game at the moment has been really good.
“If I look at my path and how I was feeling [before] at this time of the season, I’ve never really felt any better than being where I am now.”
Newcastle's @JasonSangha3 is one step closer to making his debut for @CricketNSWBlues@CricketNSW after the recently turned 19yo was named this morning in 14-man one-day squad for #JLTcup season openers in Perth @CtryCric_NSW@newcastleheraldhttps://t.co/ifyNmJIcYc— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) September 13, 2018
Finished school and no longer on a rookie contract, Blues full-timer Sangha has booked a seat on Sunday’s plane and put himself in contention to line-up for NSW against Western Australia at the WACA on Tuesday.
The visitors then back up two days later versing South Australia at the same venue before returning to North Sydney Oval for 50-over matches against both Victoria (September 23) and Tasmania (September 25) within the space of a week.
If selected for any of those encounters, throughout 2018-2019 or in future summers, the former Wallsend and Southern Lakes player would join a long line of Newcastle cricketers to represent NSW.
Sangha looks up to Novocastrians like Mark Cameron, Burt Cockley and Greg Geise, so being on the verge of wearing a Blues cap isn’t lost on the teenager.
“A lot of kids growing up, their main goal is to always get the Baggy Green and play for Australia,” he said.
“For me it was always to get the Baggy Blue, whatever happens after that for me will be a bonus. If I was good enough to get the Baggy Blue, then hopefully I can get the Baggy Green after that.
“I think of all the people from Newcastle who have played second XI for NSW or worn the Baggy Blue.”
Sangha was one of three uncapped players announced in the Blues’ first squad, joined by Daniel Sams and Jack Edwards.
The announcement follows a 10-day training camp in Brisbane, which featured several trial games and finished earlier this week, with right-hand batsman Sangha also impressing new NSW coach Phil Jaques with his leg-spinners.
“This time of year it’s so hard to replicate going out there and playing an actual game,” the Australian under-19 captain said.
“So when you get the opportunity and exposure it holds you in good stead for the upcoming season.
“The Brisbane camp was awesome, the guys have been gelling really well and the squad is looking really good this season.
“It’s a good mix with a lot of young guys but also a lot of experienced heads as well. For a young guy like myself it’s really good to learn off people like Moises [Henriques] and [Peter] Nevill.”
NSW have made four of the last five one-day finals, winning back-to-back titles in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
Meanwhile, the Toronto club have submitted a proposal to Lake Macquarie City Council to rename Awaba Oval to Robert G Holland OAM Oval in honour of the late Test cricketer best known by his nickname Dutchy.
NSW BLUES: Peter Nevill (c), Sean Abbott, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Ryan Gibson, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha.