By Nick Creely
If Saturday was a future indicator, Nivin Sathyajith has an extremely bright future in Victorian cricket.
The Cranbourne Cricket Club youngster has a mature head on his shoulders, a work ethic that endears him to coaches, and an insatiable appetite to succeed in the face of whatever adversity comes his way.
Sathyajith made his Victorian Premier Cricket debut for Kingston Hawthorn against the powerful Dandenong on Saturday, and the all-rounder made one hell of an impression.
With plenty of drive to work even harder after missing out on Vic Country selection in the current Under 19 National Championships in Western Australia, Sathyajith said that instead of being swallowed up by disappointment, he’s put his head down and strived to improve his game at club level.
“I’ve put in the hard yards over the last few years – sometimes the reward hasn’t been shown as much as I would have liked it to, but I feel like I’ve grinded it out,” he said.
“I missed out on under 19 selection this year which was a massive motivating factor for me to work even harder, and it’s a privilege to make my debut against a really good club. Thankfully I did well which is a bonus.
“I won’t lie, it’s (missing out on selection) been at the forefront of my head – some of the coaching staff were from Dandenong so I was very happy to make my debut against them, so it was a huge motivating factor for me.
“Missing out on selection, there’s always a bit of doubt whether I’m good enough, or whether they were right in not selecting me, but it just shows with hard work you can’t let external factors dictate your career.
“If you’re willing to put in the hard work, and you believe in yourself, anyone is capable of anything.”
On two occasions, in two different innings, Sathyajith made a statement with his side in trouble at Shepley Oval on the weekend. Ultimately, the talented all-rounder kept his side in the contest with one day to go.
With the bat, Sathyajith showcased his aggressive, daring nature with an entertaining 50 batting at number seven, coming in with the Hawks 5/37.
In the youngster’s debut half-century – which was brought up with cut-shot for two – he showed great composure, pushing the ball into gaps, handling the spin brilliantly and capitalising on anything that strayed with a couple of crunching sixes.
But Sathyajith also took a star turn with the ball, in a late-day spell that left the game on the ropes.
With champion opening batsmen Brett Forsyth and Tom Donnell making a late charge towards a first-innings victory, Sathyajith snared three late wickets, first the two openers before trapping Lincoln Edwards in front on the stroke of stumps.
Sathyajith said he was honoured to represent the club as its latest debutant, and praised the club for backing him in as he continues to improve his game.
“It’s a real privilege for sure, it’s really exciting,” he said.
“I personally don’t think at the start of the year I took my opportunities, getting run out and whatnot, so I didn’t get to showcase myself, but Kingston have really backed me.”
Sathyajith said that he wanted to ensure nothing in his game changed after coming in with a vocal Dandenong fielding side threatening to rummage through the lower order, and just to trust his process and not stray from the areas that make him a dangerous cricketer.
“I’m an aggressive bat, so I wanted to play my game – the vocalness is something that gets me going, so I enjoyed the battle, and it probably made me concentrate even more and push me even further,” he said.
“I wanted to get the team into a good position for when we bowled.
“And I certainly wasn’t expecting to do what I did with the ball, bowling is probably the second string for me in my repertoire – I do work on it relentlessly, I try and bowl a certain amount each week.
“I just wanted to put the ball in the right areas, get a bit of movement off the deck, and thankfully I got those wickets.”
Sathyajith crossed over from Casey-South Melbourne after two seasons to Walt Galt Reserve for this season, in what he believes is a homecoming that has revitalised plenty of passion in his game.
Prior to making his debut, Sathyajith has been a beacon of consistency in the twos, scoring 161 runs at 23 while contributing 10 wickets at 18.2. But aside from the raw statistics, Sathyajith has proven to be a player the Hawks can depend on in a tough situation.
“I did enjoy my time at Casey, I enjoyed the boys I played with especially, they’re a great bunch of guys, but I wanted to get back to my own club,” he said.
“I started off playing for them when I was eight years old at the Kingston Saints Cricket Club, and now that they’ve merged as Kingston Hawthorn it made sense, and I spoke to a couple of familiar faces and they told me they’d love me to come down.
“I wanted to spark my connection with my club, and give back a little bit to them.
“They’ve been a really good club, and they’ve seen potential in me, but that’s the home club feel I get from them– I really appreciate the club for that.”
While the Hawks have struggled for results across the board this season, Sathyajith said he can see an extremely bright future at the club.
“The culture at the club is actually awesome, the boys are in great spirits – we spoke about it at the start of the year, that our goal is not 2019/20, this is a starting position for us,” he said.
“We’re looking for the future – we’ve got a lot of young boys coming up through the system, and I believe we can be that strong side for years to come.
“This is a starting place for the club, and I feel like the team is heading in the right direction for sure.”
The Panthers will resume on 3/78 on day two, requiring a further 89 runs for victory against Sathyajith’s Hawks.