Tallangatta’s premiership hopes have received a bumper boost with star Indian recruit Sahib Malhotra returning.
The all-rounder arrived back on Thursday after he was delayed due to visa issues.
He’ll take his place in the crucial home clash against New City on Saturday, although he was suffering from a sore throat following the flight.
“I’m very happy that my team is in third spot, we have a very good chance of winning this time,” he said.
“Last time I came over here we were sixth, so obviously I’m going to try my best so my team wins.”
And Malhotra’s return is the biggest boost to the Bushies’ hopes of unseating a potential grand final between runaway top two outfits, Lavington and Wodonga.
The 25-year old posted a century on debut last season, but another visa issue delayed his return for this season until late November.
He certainly made an impact though, hitting a ton against Albury and 55 against Wodonga in racking up 209 runs at 69.7.
“It obviously gave me a lot of confidence when I came here in January (last year), but now I’m used to the wicket and bounce,” he said.
Malhotra is now a professional cricketer.
“I will just travel all over the world, like Canada, England or wherever, so I’ll just play club cricket, T20s and one-dayers,” he said.
“I can play longer version as well, so I guess for that I have to work a lot more on my bowling and batting, but T20s and one-dayers are pretty good for me.”
Malhotra is a dangerous batsman, capable of ripping an attack apart, while he can bowl both pace and leg-spin.
New City’s batting has been suspect in the two-dayers, so Malhotra will be out to exploit that.
The Bushies sit on 67.42 points, just 3.46 above seventh-placed Belvoir.
Tallangatta’s Rowan Park, meantime, is firming as the grand final venue for a second successive season, with a decision likely in the near future.
Elsewhere, East Albury faces a tough test as it looks to keep hold of its tenuous fourth position.
The Crows are away to Wodonga, which remains the only team without a loss with only two rounds left.
East has played superbly in the last two matches, toppling North Albury and St Patrick’s.
And Lavington could well wrap up the minor premiership with a powerhouse home performance against Wodonga Raiders.
The Panthers lead by less than half a point from Wodonga, but Raiders are an easier opponent, on paper, than the Crows.
Albury meets St Patrick’s in the final game.