KOCHI : Mandeep Singh is now a fairly known name in cricketing circles after his superb performances for Royal Challengers Bangalore last IPL season. An aggressive batsman, he shares the dressing room with RCB superstars such as AB de Villers, Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli. Moreover, New Zealand spin great Daniel Vettori is his coach!
But behind this rise of the Punjab lad lies a heartwarming story. Mandeep’s father Sardar Hardev Singh was a Sports Authority of India (SAI) athletics coach in Jalandhar and the job didn’t provide him much.
Inspired by Sachin Tendulkar, Mandeep was hooked to cricket from his childhood days, but his father was against his son’s wishes as he believed that a career in sports won’t give him the comforts of life.
“He always had this feeling that he couldn’t send his children to a better school. The job didn’t fetch him much. So he was against us taking sports seriously,” said Mandeep after his match-winning 58 not out for Punjab against Jammu and Kashmir here on Sunday. “I was very adamant and finally I was finally admitted to an academy. My father was unable to pay for my fee but the club allowed me to practice free of cost,” he reminisced.
Though the training came free of cost, it was a still a costly pursuit and fortunately, Mandeep’s elder brother Harvinder Singh, who too aspired to make a career in cricket, was willing to sacrifice his dreams. “He was a good fast bowler but he quit for me. He told my father that he will become a doctor and allow me to play cricket. He sacrificed for me,” the right-handed batsman said.
Winner of the ‘Emerging Player Award’ for his performance in the 2012 IPL season, Mandeep left Kings XI Punjab and joined Royal Challengers ahead of last season. The move did wonders for the talented 24-year-old.
“I got to learn a lot of things from my teammates. De Villiers instructed me on how to control my head movement while batting. From Virat, I learned a lot on how to improve on fitness. The stay with them has helped me improve my game. Though I am currently focussed on performing well for Punjab, in the long run I hope to get a national team call-up,” he said.
Rahil Scalps 5 as TN Down Bengal
Nagpur: Left-arm spinner Rahil Shah polished off the lower half of the Bengal batting with a five-wicket haul as Tamil Nadu won by 69 runs in a Group A encounter here. Batting first, Tamil Nadu scored 151 for eight with Abhinav Mukund top-scoring with 41. In reply, Bengal was skittled out for 82. India international Mohammed Shami, who took 2/30, and now has five wickets from two games and will join the Indian ODI squad in Mumbai on Monday as they prepare to leave on January 5.