Differences of opinion on various issues with the Brisbane Heat was one of the reasons for allrounder Ben Cutting ending a nine-year association with the BBL club to move to the Sydney Thunder on a two-year deal.
Although the Heat kept themselves in the hunt towards the end of the 2019-2020 regular season their campaign was studded with a number of poor batting displays, notably consecutive matches against the Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades when they were bundled out for 100 and 120 – the latter when they had been 0 for 84 after the Powerplay.
That has led to a reshaping of the squad ahead of the new season and Cutting, who is the Heat’s second-highest run-scorer, was told he would be opening the batting which did not sit comfortably.
Coupled with the desire to spend more time with partner Erin Holland, the TV presenter, who works a lot in Sydney he took it upon himself to seek a new challenge. Cutting suggested his departure may not be the last significant change to the Heat’s list, although insisted there was no bitterness to his original BBL club.
“There’s probably a couple of reasons [for the move], we probably didn’t see eye to eye on a few things,” he said. “It’s a tough one to comment on because there’s been a lot of loyalty both ways for a number of years, but from my end I was told I was opening the batting every single game this year – that was one of things among a few others – I understand where they are coming from as well, it’s been a couple of lean years so they are looking to make a few changes and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”
The move to the Thunder will enable him to play alongside his best man Usman Khawaja – although his wedding has now been moved three times due to the challenges thrown up this year – and brings him back together with coach Shane Bond who he has previously worked with at the Heat and Mumbai Indians.
“It’s playing alongside good people, most of the guys I’ve come across and played a lot of cricket against or with around the world,” he said. “Guys like Callum Ferguson, Chris Green, Usman Khawaja, one of my best mates, then not having to face the Daniel Sams’ slower ball so happy to be on the same team as him.”
“Shane Bond was a very big factor in my move,” he added. “I know him really well and he knows me – and my game – really well. He knows how to get the best out of me. He’s very diligent, which is what I like, very professional and very diligent but he’s someone who has a lot of fun in coaching as well which is what the Big Bash is all about.”
Bond said the all-round skills that Cutting brings – a batting average of 22.16 with a strike-rate of 149.37, plus his pace bowling that has claimed 123 wickets – ticked a lot of boxes for the Thunder.
“We were looking to bring in some experience. If you want to be there at the business end you need those experienced players, and we were also looking for players that can bring a unique skillset.
“There aren’t too many players in the Big Bash who can come in at six and strike the ball and score as fast as Ben can. He’s the best in the competition at doing that, I think. To have him come across to us to fill that role is massive.”
“His bowling on our wicket at Sydney Showground Stadium and his fielding is a bonus. He’s just a pro. He always looks after himself and is always prepared. We’ve got a really strong relationship and I think he’ll fit in brilliantly at our club. He’s going to fill a vital role for us.”
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