Upcoming Australian pacer 19-year-old Gurinder Sandhu toppled veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to win the prestigious Steve Waugh Medal as the best New South Wales cricketer for the year 2012-13, on Thursday.
Sandhu, whose father emigrated from Punjab 30 years ago, is the first Australian of Indian origin to represent the country in cricket at the international level. He won the medal with 146 votes, three clear of Haddin and the honour also made him the first Indian and the first rookie to win the medal, ousting Haddin and Trent Copeland (133) at the awards ceremony in Doltone. Sandhu also won the Ryobi Cup player of the year beating Steve Smith and Haddin.
The right-arm pacer was also an active member of the Australia team at the 2012 Under-19 World Cup and has so far played only two Sheffield Shield four-day matches and four Ryobi Cup domestic limited-overs fixtures. He took 14 wickets in four Ryobi Cup games for his state and an equal number of strikes in just two Sheffield Shield matches with a best effort of five for 31.
Sandhu lives in Blacktown and made his debut this season for the Sydney Thunder in the Twenty20 Big Bash and also featured in the Prime Minister's XI match against the West Indies. He took four wickets in two Australia 'A' games against England 'A'.
The Steve Waugh Medal was decided by a 3-2-1 vote system after each Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup one-day match and votes from all these games are then combined to determine the winner.