The inclusion of 21-year-old Tanveer Sangha in Australia’s preliminary World Cup squad has sparked widespread surprise and interest, particularly given his extended absence from professional cricket due to injury. What’s particularly intriguing is Sangha’s ability to secure a spot ahead of more seasoned players like Mitchell Swepson and Matt Kuhnemann, despite having participated in only five List A matches. However, for those who have witnessed Sangha’s bowling skills, his inclusion is less astonishing.

Mitchell Marsh, currently standing in as Australian captain, notes, “He’s been on our radar,” underlining Sangha’s rapid learning curve and unwavering commitment to practice. Hailing from Sydney and born to Indian immigrant parents, Sangha displayed athletic prowess from a young age. While he excelled in sports such as rugby and football, cricket initially faced resistance from his parents.

Interestingly, Sangha’s father initially envisioned a volleyball career for his son. “But cricket took the lead,” he conceded in an interview with The Indian Express. Recognizing that his physical attributes weren’t conducive to fast bowling, Sangha shifted his focus to leg-spin. Unconventionally, he refined his skills by immersing himself in YouTube tutorials.

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Within a short span, Sangha represented Australia at the Under-16 level, solidifying his reputation further at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in 2020. During the tournament, he emerged as Australia’s leading wicket-taker, claiming 15 wickets, including a remarkable five-wicket haul against Nigeria. In the same year, he made his debut in the Big Bash League for the Sydney Thunder, concluding his inaugural season with an impressive tally of 21 wickets.

The Rapid Rise of Tanveer Sangha: A Self-Taught Leg Spinner via YouTube

Shortly after turning 19, Sangha earned a coveted spot in Australia’s T20 tour of New Zealand. Although he didn’t get a chance to showcase his skills due to the presence of established spinners like Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar, his potential remained palpable. In his Sheffield Shield debut for New South Wales, he returned figures of 3-44, followed by a noteworthy performance of 4-21 in his maiden one-day domestic appearance. His consistent displays didn’t go unnoticed, as he added another 16 wickets in the subsequent Big Bash season.

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Even international stalwarts took note. West Indies legend Andre Russell applauded Sangha’s courage and skill, acknowledging, “You have a big heart, and I admire spinners who aren’t afraid to bowl to power hitters.” Sangha’s fearless spirit was on full display during his tour of Sri Lanka with Australia A, where he played a pivotal role in securing important wickets during a tense victory.

What sets Sangha apart is his unique bowling style. His stock delivery is quicker and flatter compared to the traditional leg-spin, aiming at the stumps and challenging batsmen at the crease. His remarkable consistency makes him a reliable attacking option, especially during the middle overs in 50-over cricket. If given the opportunity to represent Australia in South Africa, he will become the second male cricketer of Indian descent to do so, following in the footsteps of Gurinder Sandhu.

Sangha’s journey stands as a testament to the potential of self-guided learning and the opportunities facilitated by the internet. Progressing from absorbing insights from YouTube tutorials to the grand global stage, his rapid rise epitomizes the fusion of relentless effort and innate talent. It also underscores the evolving pathways to professional sports.

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As the future unfolds, Sangha is poised to make a lasting impact on Australian cricket. With Australia’s white-ball squads landing in South Africa, all eyes are fixed on this self-taught, YouTube-inspired leg-spinner. Mentors and critics alike are eagerly awaiting his performance, showcasing Sangha’s readiness to embrace the international stage with open arms. It’s evident that Sangha’s extraordinary skills and unwavering determination have firmly established him as a significant presence in the cricketing world.