Nikhil Chaudhary: Meet the India-born Hobart Hurricanes Player who has set BBL 2023-24 on fire with his batting
The 13th edition of the Big Bash League (BBL 2023–24) is in full swing, with teams vying for the coveted title, currently held by the Perth Scorchers. Amidst the high-octane matches, a new star has emerged on the cricket field - Nikhil Chaudhary. Making his debut for the Hobart Hurricanes, Chaudhary, a 27-year-old Indian-origin all-rounder, has stepped into the limelight of Australia's premier T20 cricket competition.
A Debut to Remember
On December 20, against the defending champions Perth Scorchers, Chaudhary showcased his talent in an impressive debut. Scoring a brisk 31-ball 40, he helped the Hurricanes post a competitive total of 172. His ability with the bat was complemented by his economical bowling, conceding just five runs in his one-over spell. This performance marks the arrival of a promising talent in a tournament that has been a launchpad for many cricketing stars.
He followed it up with an even better batting performance against the Melbourne Stars on December 28. Walking in to bat at No.7, with the Hurricanes struggling at 96/5 after 13 overs, Chaudhary went on to smash 32 in just 16 deliveries to help his team to a competitive total of 155. His innings consisted of three fours and two sixes.
Nikhil Chaudhary: Career Profile
Born in Delhi on May 4, 1996, Chaudhary's journey to the BBL is a testament to his dedication and skill. He began his T20 career with Punjab in the 2016–17 inter-state T20 tournament. Over 12 T20s for Punjab, he amassed 106 runs and claimed 7 wickets. Seeking broader horizons, he moved to Australia three years ago, honing his skills in Brisbane's grade cricket. This stint proved pivotal, culminating in his selection for the Hobart Hurricanes.
Chaudhary's last appearance for Punjab was against Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on November 27, 2019. Additionally, he has represented Punjab in two List A games in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2017.
The all-rounder resides in Queensland and has also been consistent with his batting in their domestic competition for the past couple of seasons, averaging 44.8 with the bat at a strike rate of 164.3.
“My first goal when I moved to Australia was to be playing in the Big Bash,” Chaudhary was quoted as saying by the Hobart Hurricanes media team ahead of this BBL 2023-24 season.
“I would describe myself as a finisher, I’ll be there at the end in the last couple of overs scoring a couple of big ones and finishing the game for the team that will be my goal for this year,” he added.
Cricket Tasmania High Performance General Manager, Salliann Beams, also elaborated on Hurricanes' assistant coach James Hopes' role in getting Chaudhary into the team.
“Hopesy put Nikhil’s name forward earlier in the year, and ever since then he hasn’t stopped scoring runs, Nikhil has always batted 5, 6, 7 and he knows it so well… hopefully he’ll get his chance,” Beams said ahead of the season.
An Indian Talent in Australian Cricket
Chaudhary's presence in the BBL is particularly notable given his Indian citizenship as the BCCI doesn't allow Indian players to feature in this tournament. But the Hurricanes' have most probably signed him up as a local player as Chaudhary has been in Australia for three years now. Nonetheless, his inclusion in the Hobart Hurricanes squad makes him one of the few Indian-born players to feature in the BBL, a league that has predominantly seen Australian and other international players.
As the BBL 2023–24 progresses, cricket fans and experts alike will be keenly watching Chaudhary's performance. With his all-round capabilities, he has the potential to become a key player for the Hurricanes. The tournament, known for its fierce competition and high standards, will be an ideal platform for Chaudhary to showcase his talent and possibly pave the way for a successful international career.