SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – December 23, 2017: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – SMH NEWS: 231217: Story by Andrew Wu: Portrait of Sydney Thunder Batsman and Spin Bowler Arjun Nair at his Western Sydney family home where he has built a Cricket net to practise and train. (Photo James Alcock /Fairfax Media).It might not be the SCG or the MCG but Sydney Thunder young gun Arjun Nair has his own field of dreams in the backyard.
The 22 yards of synthetic turf that sits down the side of the Nair family home in Girraween, in Sydney’s west, is where one of the brightest young prospects in Australian cricket has honed his game.
Nair, 19, has had the pitch since he was a 14-year-old with ambitions of making it to the top. The future prospect, who last year aged 17 became one of the youngest players to make his first-class debut for NSW, still has a way to go to fulfil his dreams but it’s hard not to be enthused by his start to the Big Bash.
The all-rounder hit the winning runs in the Thunder’s victory in the Sydney Derby, and was strong with bat and ball in their loss to Adelaide last Friday.
As a schoolboy, Nair spent hours with his father in the custom-made net much to the chagrin of his mother, who preferred him hitting the books instead of the ball. As a trade-off, Nair would have to study late into the night.
The idea to install a full-sized pitch and net, at a cost of $5000-$10,000, was his father Jay’s. Nair was not complaining. Few teenagers with a passion for the game would.
“I was able to play more, I didn’t have to travel as far. I’ve only got to go to the backyard, which is much easier,” Nair told Fairfax Media.
“It’s something different. If you have space and you really want to do it, it’s a good investment.”
There is unlikely to be anyone in the world who has faced Nair more than his father. In a standard session, Nair will practise his wide range of variations in a 100-ball spell. His father also feeds the bowling machine so Nair, a budding all-rounder, can practise his batting.
Like every backyard across the country, there are house rules. Automatic wicky applies, of course, and for Nair anything hit above 10cm is out. The rules are not conducive to producing the big hits which are synonymous with the BBL but there is a grander goal in mind.
“Unless I hit it clean straight, I get away with it,” Nair said. “Dad can hit it as high as he wants unless it’s a straight top edge, he’s out.”
Nair was a leggie as a child but inspired by West Indies offie Sunil Narine switched to finger-spin. Like Narine, Nair has a deadly doosra – a ball which spins away from the right-hander with little discernible difference in action – that he has used with success at grade level.
The delivery is not taught in the Australian system due to a belief it cannot be bowled with a legal action.
“I watched an Indian Premier League game and saw Narine bowl. I thought it was pretty cool so I started working in the backyard with my dad,” Nair said.
“It turned out pretty decent so I started working hard from then on.”
Nair still practises his leg-spin and has not ruled out bowling a few in games.
“It’s coming out alright now but I won’t use it for a while,” Nair said. “It’s a work in progress. It’ll add to my variety.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.