Nikhil Chaudhary has emerged as a rising star in the Big Bash League (BBL) thanks to all-round performances for Hobart Hurricanes. The 27-year-old, who represented India U-19 cricket team, showed his mettle with the bat when he took Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf to the cleaners to slam 32 off just 16 balls against Melbourne Stars. Chaudhary was once again in the news during the match against Sydney Thunder as he performed with the ball and took two wickets to guide his team to victory.

Originally from Delhi, Chaudhary moved to Punjab with his family at an young age and his initial dream was to become a fast bowler with an action that resembled former Australia pacer Brett Lee. “I started as a fast bower. I wanted the same action like Brett Lee as did everyone at school,” he told ESPNCricinfo.

The dreams of becoming a fast bowler were never fulfilled but as an all-rounder, he found success for the U-19 cricket team and was even selected for the Punjab team. During his stint with Punjab, he played with stalwarts like Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh – an experience that helped him.

“I learned a lot of things from him, like how to build an innings, tackle big targets and how to go deep into the innings,” Chaudhary said of Yuvraj during the interview. “I knew my capability of scoring runs at any stage of the game. I really wanted to crack the IPL and also play for India.”

In 2019, Chaudhary trialed twice with Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians but there was no success. However, things changed when he travelled to Brisbane for a holiday with his family and with the borders shutting down due to COVID-19, the cricketer decided to try his luck in Australia.

“It was totally different to India and I like the culture here,” he said. “I wanted to pursue my cricket in Australia. I just wanted a change and to grow as a person.”

While working as a courier at Australia Post, Chaudhary started playing club cricket for Northern Suburbs and it was his coach –¬†former Australian cricketer James Hopes – who recommended his name to the Hobart Hurricanes that eventually led to him receiving a BBL contract.

As a result, Chaudhary became only the second India-born cricketer after Unmukt Chand to play in the BBL and in the very small time, he has proven himself to be a valuable asset for the Hurricanes.

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