Albury star Kade Brown has labelled Tallangatta’s Indian import the best spinner he’s faced.
Interestingly, Sahib Malhotra arrived last month as an opening bowler, but a back injury has forced him to focus on leg-spin.
“He’s great, he’s a gun,” Brown said.
“He’s so tall, the bounce and the turn he was getting, it was almost unplayable.”
Brown is regarded as one of the association’s finest bats, with seven years experience at provincial level.
He’s so tall, the bounce and the turn he was getting, it was almost unplayable ...he’s the best spinner I’ve faced.Kade Brown
“The ball’s probably coming from seven foot, and the bounce he was getting, it was awkward to play,” he said.
“You don’t face a lot of leg-spin, and he’s the best spinner I’ve faced.”
Brown’s praise will cause concern for the rest of the competition.
Malhotra finished with 4-77 off 26 overs, while off-spinner and coach Matt Armstrong took 4-32 from 16.
Tallangatta holds down fifth spot, and while it’s far from guaranteed a finals berth, it should have enough firepower to pass Albury’s 192.
Brown starred for the visitors, hitting an unbeaten 95, with nine boundaries and a six.
Coach Alex Popko scored 50, but the club’s lack of depth was exposed when Peter Senior was the third-highest with 10.
“We knew it was going to be tough in the first hour, and some of the shots we played were silly shots, we just didn’t play to the conditions,” Brown said.
“The ball was probably a little poppy early because there was so much juice in the wicket, we just hit the ball in the air at the wrong times.”
Tallangatta’s Rowen Park will host the grand final, and while it’s attracted some criticism on social media, largely due to the 30-minute travel factor from Albury-Wodonga, Brown couldn’t be more praiseworthy of the complex.
“That’s going to be perfect for the grand final, that’s the best ground I’ve played on the last three or four years,” he said.
“The outfield, the pitch, it’s just a good cricket ground now, especially with those new facilities.
“I reckon good on them for getting the grand final, showing a bit of initiative and show a bit of support for Tallangatta.”
If the Bushies pass Albury’s total, as expected, they then face cellar-dweller Wodonga Raiders in the final round.
Given their winless season, Raiders would be excused for hoping the season ends as soon as possible, while an outright win for Tallangatta could catapult the club towards a top-two finish.
With Armstrong at three, century-maker Nathan Thompson to follow and Malhotra at five, fresh from a debut ton, the Bushies have a batting line-up there which is unrivalled.
Add the spin twins Malhotra and Armstrong, plus the ever-improving Sam Stephens, along with rapidly rising teenage opening bowler Lachie Paton, and the Bushies are emerging as the most dangerous outfit.