New City’s new import is looking at his Border stint to resurrect his first-class career.
All-rounder Saurabh Bandekar missed selection for Goa in India’s Ranji Trophy, the equivalent of Australia’s Sheffield Shield.
“That’s why I thought I should try and get a team in Australia, my agent got me this last-minute offer,” he said.
“I am hoping to extend my career, I think this is just one year, I hope to get back in the team next year.”
While some might see a player targeting just a one-year stint as a negative, the reverse is true.
The Phoenix has picked up a player who will be desperate to succeed.
The 31-year-old came through a golden era in Indian cricket, representing the country at under 19 level with current world superstar Virat Kohli and fellow Test players Rohan Sharma and Ishant Sharma.
Interestingly, Bandekar has never played against the fiesty Kohli, who will be public enemy number one when the Indians tour this summer.
“I was also with him at (Indian Premier League outfit) Royal Challengers Bangalore, but I didn’t get a game,” he said.
The right-arm fast-medium bowler has dismissed long-time star Yuvraj Singh in a practice game and faced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who boasts more than 300 Test wickets.
“I started as a bowler who batted, but now I’m more of a genuine all-rounder, I think I’m more of a batting all-rounder,” he said.
Bandekar boasts 2025 runs at first-class level, with one ton and 10 half-centuries, at an average of 23.82, while snaring 171 wickets at 35.54.
He started his CAW stint with an impressive 47 from 42 balls against East Albury and then opened the bowling, taking 1-31 from seven overs.
“When I was younger I was clocked at 137 kms, that was my quickest, but now I’m around 130,” he said.
Given New City has lost its coach and captain in recent weeks, Bandekar’s arrival takes on extra significance.
“I feel there’s a lot of responsibility on me, the guys are amazing in the team, they’re really young but they’ve got all the talent in the world,” he said.
New City hosts Lavington on Saturday, so the association will get an immediate gauge on just how good his batting is.
The premiers boast the best pace bowling attack in the modern era, so the prospect of an experienced first-class batsman against an ex-Test quick in Daryl Tuffey and Co. is exciting.
Tallangatta’s Indian import Sahib Malhotra is arguably the association’s best bat, but Bandekar has a superior first-class record.
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