He's a relative Big Bash League veteran, but Nathan McAndrew is enjoying a breakout season for Sydney Thunder. And the Oak Flats all-rounder credits teammate Ben Cutting for inspiring his great form.
The off-season arrival of former Heat star Cutting could have signaled trouble for McAndrew, who is in his sixth season with the Thunder. However, the 27-year-old is relishing the challenge.
"Ben's a well-experienced campaigner. He's not really bowling too much any more like he used to. He first came up as a bowler, but his batting has really developed over the years to become the hard-hitter he is now," McAndrew said.
"He's a very thoughtful cricketer, he's a very big planner and he's played all over the world. He's a really good communicator around training and always talking after a ball, saying 'what were you thinking there?' and things like that. We've had some really good conversations at training and I definitely think I've picked up a few things from him.
"He's definitely having an impact on myself and a few of the other boys as well, especially in the nets."
Whatever the pair have discussed seems to be working, as McAndrew has been a catalyst for the Thunder's strong start to the season.
Heading into Wednesday's top-of-the-table clash with rivals Sydney Sixers, McAndrew has taken 11 wickets at an impressive average of 22.90. He has also chimed in with some handy runs, headlined by blasting 20 off five balls against the Melbourne Renegades last month.
"You've just got to try and impact the game. I think 'Bondy' [Thunder coach Shane Bond] has given me some simple game plans and some really specific roles," McAndrew said.
"At the end of the day, I bat at number nine but I like to think of myself as an all-rounder. I'm not sure what the stats would be on average for the amount of balls you would face batting at number nine in T20, but it's not many. You've just got to out there and try stand still and swing hard. That's a pretty easy game plan for me.
"I try not to really think about the results, but I try to execute my skills in whichever form that is, whether it's the bat or the bowl. I'm trying to read the situation that's in front of me and try to execute to the best of my ability."
McAndrew was part of the Thunder side which was just one win away from last season's BBL decider. Sydney came up against a powerful Stars outfit in the Challenger final, with Melbourne prevailing by 28 runs.
In 2020/21, McAndrew is confident that his franchise has the talent and depth to go one step further.
"This year, we've got a well-rounded side which has allowed us to fit into some niche roles and play to each other's strength which is definitely helping," he said.
"We've been playing some really good cricket, early doors. But you want to be playing your best cricket at the back end of the tournament. And we've still got a lot of improvements to make.
"But we expect to be in the finals, we have a high benchmark for ourselves. That's certainly a goal of ours."