Friday, December 9, 2022

Sydney Thunder: Ben Cutting Signs

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Destructive all-rounder Ben Cutting will use his new deal with Sydney Thunder for this summer’s KFC Big Bash League as an opportunity to tap back into the carefree and fearless spirit of his junior cricketing days.

Cutting is counting down the days until BBL|12 gets underway after spending his winter working with respected sports psychologist Noel Blundell – who has worked with a cavalcade of champion athletes including Ash Barty, Pete Sampras, and Mark Skaife – and slaving in the nets with bowling coach Joe Dawes.

“I’m loving cricket more than ever,” said Cutting, who has also starred in the Indian, Pakistan, Caribbean, Afghanistan and Canadian T20 competitions.

“I feel mentally and physically refreshed after not playing cricket over the last few months. I’ve used that time to work on the mental side of cricket as much as I have the physical side.”

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Cutting, who travelled from his home in Brisbane to work with Melbourne-based Blundell, said their sessions revealed a longing for him to return to his most basic cricket instinct.

“One of the big things I’ve gained from working with Noel was the desire to get back to playing my natural game,” said the former Australia international. “That means playing without the handbrake on; playing without the worry about results or the decisions that are made on the field.

“I believe it is a matter of going out and playing with the same freedom I did as a kid 20-odd years ago. What I’ve realised is my role has fluctuated over the last 15 or so years from being a guy who just bowled fast and wanted to take wickets to becoming more of a batter in T20.

“I’m aiming this summer to fuse together my batting and bowling games for Thunder. I want to get them firing.”

Cutting, who inked a one-year deal with Thunder, also worked hard on his bowling during the winter break under the guidance of former Queensland Bulls fast bowler, Joe Dawes.

“When I first started with Queensland Joe was one of the players who took me under his wing,” said Cutting. “It said a lot about his character because he was in the final year of his contract with Queensland, and he was injured. Yet, while he was on the way out, he always found time to help me.

“I’ve worked on my bowling with Joe over the winter and it has been great. As a result of the sessions, I’ve made some adjustments under his guidance.”

Cutting said he was keen to continue his association with western Sydney’s BBL club because he believes the Trevor Bayliss-coached team can build on the success it enjoyed last summer.

“We didn’t get the finish to the season we wanted,” he said of BBL|11. “But the crew Thunder is putting together – it has a great mix of young and experienced players – is laying the foundations for an exciting couple of years ahead.

“I also enjoyed Trevor Bayliss’s coaching. I played under him for the Australia T20 team a few years ago when he was made the interim coach for two matches, but to spend time with him throughout the course of the last BBL season was a wonderful experience. Very enjoyable.

“He trusts his players on the field to make the right decision, and he also allows them to play with freedom. For a coach to give a player that freedom is quite special.

“I had plenty of chats to him about cricket, and it was great to take some gems from his coaching expertise. His approach is to keep it simple, and that is why he’s been so successful around the world.”

While Cutting’s great friend, and Sydney Thunder foundation player, Usman Khawaja, left the club for Brisbane Heat, he hailed the recruitment of run scoring machine David Warner as ‘massive.’

“He’s a fantastic signing,” said Cutting, who played alongside Warner for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League.

“David is dynamic as a batter, dynamic as a leader, dynamic as a fielder, and dynamic as a bloke. He’ll fit in brilliantly with our squad’s mix of youth and experience. I’m looking forward to seeing him play for us.”

Head of Sydney Thunder, Andrew Gilchrist, described Cutting’s initiative to work with Blundell and Dawes as the level of professionalism teams around the world crave from their players.

“Ben Cutting is one of the best team men going around,” said Gilchrist. “You would be hard-pressed to find a better man than him, and he also plays a crucial role for Thunder in that he’s willing to slot into wherever the team requires.

“We saw him open the innings last summer – and he did an incredible job – but he was just as impactful sliding down the order, and tremendous with the ball in hand as well.

“The fact he has been working with a sports psychologist and a bowling coach despite all he has achieved shows he wants to win; he wants to get the best out of his ability, and he wants to do the best by the team.

“That is a credit to Ben, and it also reflects why everyone at Sydney Thunder values him so highly.”

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Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Squad

Head Coach: Trevor Bayliss

Contracted Players: Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Rilee Rossouw, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, David Warner, David Willey

Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Home Fixtures

Tue 13 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars | Manuka Oval | 7:15pm

Fri 16 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Adelaide Strikers | Sydney Showground Stadium | 8:15pm

Tue 27 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat | Sydney Showground Stadium | 7:15pm

Sat 31 Dec | Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes | Lavington Sports Ground | 3:30pm

Sun 8 Jan | Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers | Sydney Showground Stadium | 7:15pm

Fri 13 Jan | Sydney Thunder v Perth Scorchers | Sydney Showground Stadium | 6:30pm

Thu 19 Jan | Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Renegades | Manuka Oval | 7:15pm

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