For Nepal’s 30 year old Sunam Gautam, Australian Big Bash League is a far fetched dream.
Once a national cricketer having also represented Nepal in age group internationals, Sunam is living a life anonymous to many cricket-loving Nepalese. They have rather enjoyed and cheered globetrotting Sandeep Lamichhane in the Australian franchise cricket in front of their TV sets.
While Sandeep has been the toast of Big Bash League and currently justifying the marquee tag in the Caribbean Premier League with disciplined bowling, Sunam has his own story of struggle. His struggle even continues today and his days are mundane, if cricket is plucked out.
He has been playing in Adelaide for the Southern District Cricket Club in the South Australian Grade Cricket League. It is the highest dometic club competition which will open the gates for state team and ultimately the Australian national team.
As Sunam continues with his struggle, his eight-year dedication towards the game in Australia partially paid off when former Aussie leg spinner Stuart McGill mentioned him in his official Twitter account and recommended the Nepali cricketer for this season’s Australian Big Bash League.
“Any BBL club looking for a spin bowler capable of sneaking up on the opposition and winning close matches should look no further than @sunam_cric Trust me,” McGill tweeted on Tuesday as the Big Bash League opened contracting for the 10th edition of the franchise tournament.
“That’s (tweet from McGill) pretty amazing. It was a big surprise for me. Lets hope this surprise will lead me to my destination, Sunam told cricketingnepal from Australia. It is not that McGill has been consistently keeping an eye on Sunam.
“He might have liked my bowling and specially my variations. He just saw me bowling once but checked it from every angle. Since he himself had been a spinner, he might have wanted to find out more in me,” the allrounder added.
Sunam has been playing Twenty20s, 50 overs and two-day cricket for Southern District. His best performance with the ball in the shorter version of the game is 4-13 from four overs against Essendon Cricket Club which was led by Aussie international Clint McKay. With the bat, he clubbed 65 off 47 against Melbourne University Cricket Club.
His career best in Australia came for Greenvale Kangaroos Cricket Club. He later moved to Adelaide to play for Southern District.
The best so far for him had been a place in the Victorian Premier Cricket’s Team of the Season. In doing so, he was the first Nepali to achieve that feat.
Its not Sunam has gone over the top in a short span of time. Normally a medium bowler back in Nepal, Sunam has turned himself into a regular off spinner to exploit Aussies’ vulnerability to spinners. This decision has continued to reap fruits for him and he has been applauded for his performance. Sunam, however, wants to achieve more.
“I am doing good but I feel I can do much better. I am really happy with whatever is happening with me regarding the white ball cricket. But it’s the red ball that I want to do better on, he said referring to multi-day cricket which can give him even higher level of competition in the Australian domestic cricket.
Like McGill’s tweet, playing in Big Bash is even a bigger surprise for him. Its something that Nepali cricketers have always sought for, a coveted competition. Big Bash looks both possible and impossible for Sunam. But he still wants to dream.