NSW spin bowler Manjot Singh, a car salesman who was coached by Sydney Sixers wicketkeeper Daniel Smith, described his representing the Blues as proof cricket was a game that embraced all.
Singh, who is of Indian descent but is described by Smith as more Aussie than a character from a Banjo Paterson ballad, has endured quite a journey on his way to NSW selection.
Two years ago he took time off from work - and cricket - to focus on his fitness; he struck an agreement with his employer to allow him time to play cricket and at 18 he shocked his deeply religious Sikh parents when he decided to no longer wear the turban that symbolises his faith.
''My parents are very religious, my father is a secretary at a Sikh temple, and I respect their beliefs 100 per cent,'' he said. ''However, as someone who grew up in a Western society I didn't feel that comfortable [wearing the turban] and it was my decision. I did it for myself, decided to not wear it.
''That was the reason why I cut it. I thought I'd worn it for 18 years but I made the decision and I feel comfortable. It upset my parents, as I say they're very religious, and it was hard at first but they've grown to realise I'm still the same person even without the turban.''
Singh became only the second player of Indian descent to represent the Blues after fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu's breakthrough selection last summer. The 26-year-old believed his selection would have a knock-on effect in Sydney's subcontinent community.
''Gurinder has been great, he's set the tone for kids with Indian heritage,'' said Singh who was back on the job selling cars at Lexus Chatswood the day after the Shield match at the SCG finished. ''Growing up I always wanted to play for NSW and CNSW has been very supportive. I think they're giving kids from a subcontinental background a belief they can get there, that there is opportunities. It's just not for kids of Indian backgrounds, it's for kids of all cultures and I hope they see from Gurinder and my selections, and Usman Khawaja [of Pakistani heritage] before us, that if you work hard it'll be acknowledged.''
Smith described his mate ''Joey'' or ''Singhy's'' rise and rise as a just reward for his determination.
''It was a great effort,'' said Smith of Singh joining him as at the club. ''He was seen as the next big thing when he came through the junior ranks at NSW but it didn't happen in a hurry and he was a bit disappointed, a bit dejected. He took a year off work and cricket, trained hard, returned with a fresher attitude and was so much more fitter and he's been on fire. He has the Aussie mongrel in him, he likes the fight and never gives up.''
Smith, however, gave Singh his greatest endorsement before heading to train for the Sydney Sixers Big Bash League campaign. ''Is he a good bloke?'' he laughed. ''Well, I bought a car off him.''