Ollie Davies made an eye-catching debut for the Sydney Thunder, but the night was bittersweet for the 20-year-old.
Davies‘ 36-run cameo off just 22 balls at Canberra’s Manuka Oval turned the game as he and skipper Callum Ferguson combined to put the Thunder in a winning position against the Perth Scorchers.
Born and raised on the northern beaches of Sydney, Davies was looking forward to having his family and friends at the ground to watch his debut.
But these are extraordinary times.
Because of the COVID outbreak on the northern beaches in the days leading up to the match, no one from the Davies family was allowed to travel to Canberra.
“It was really unfortunate. They were going to come down and watch and a couple of my good mates were going to come down and watch as well,” Davies said.
“It was disappointing. They couldn‘t get down unfortunately, but I’m hoping they watched it at home on TV cheering me on.”
Cheer him on they certainly did.
Davies was given the nod after Alex Ross picked up an injury and he admits the call up was a “a little bit unexpected”.
“I thought there might have been a couple of people ahead of me, but it was nice to debut,” he said.
“I got told a few days prior that there was a possibility I would get a crack, (then) found out a couple of days ago. It didn‘t sink in for a while, until I actually got to the ground.”
Davies said any nerves he had quickly disappeared after he got his first run and from that point on he felt free to play his shots. And there were some sensational ones, including an audacious one-handed six.
Two years ago Davies‘ name lit up when he hit six sixes in an over at the U-19 World Championships, but plenty of work went into preparing him for the step up to the Big Bash.
“The biggest thing I had to work on was just facing quicker bowlers,” he said.
“In junior cricket you get to sit on the front foot and just hit them wherever you want basically, so for me it was getting some practice in against quick bowlers.
“I had some good opportunities to face Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in preseason, for a month I reckon, so that was really good exposure. I got through some real quick sessions against Starc and he‘s the quickest bowler in the world, so anything from here should be easier.”