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From troubles to triumph, how U-19 opener Manjot Kalra became a star

Opener And Left-handed Batsman Manjot Kalra, Who Could Not Perform Well In The Kuala Lumpur Match On November 12, Proved Himself In The U-19 World Cup Against Australia On Saturday. His 101 (not Out) Score Took The Team Towards Victory And Made Them The Champions For The Fourth Time.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Aishwarya A | Updated on: 04 Feb 2018, 09:58:53 AM
Manjot Kalra: From troubles to triumph! (Source: Cricket World Cup)

New Delhi:

Boys in Blue, the Under-19 Champions of India who won the World Cup on Saturday against Australia and set a record, had one man who stood by the team till the end of the innings.

With his spectacular unbeaten ton, opener and left-handed batsman Manjot Kalra proved his mettle in the Under-19 World Cup final against the Aussies. His 101 score took the team towards victory and made them the champions for the record fourth time.

Aged 19, Kalra’s life was full of ups and downs since the day he began his cricket career. When Manjot was preparing for Asia Cup match against Nepal in Kuala Lumpur, he was stalled in a fraud age controversy at the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

He did not attend college and refused a college admission to focus solely on cricket. His elder brother told Times of India in an interview, “There were a lot of distractions. Our father was critical and this allegation came up. But he gave the best reply to doubters today.”

Kalra’s brother, Hitesh said the first thing he did was to visit his father in the hospital, in spite of being in disappointment.

“When he returned from Malaysia, he rushed straight to the hospital. He didn't have a great Asia Cup. He had a match against Punjab in the U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy the next day. His first coach Suresh Batra told him that performing big in that match will be the greatest gift he could give to our father,” said Hitesh.

His match against Punjab in the U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy the next day proved to be filled with good luck as he scored a huge 172 in that and secured his position for being in the U-19 World Cup.

Hailing from the same cricket academy as Unmukt Chand in North Delhi, Kalra was not very keen on taking up cricket as a career. He went to the ground to just accompany his brother, Hitesh, as Hitesh was the one trying to make a career in the game.

Also Read: India trounce Australia to win ICC Under 19 World Cup title for record fourth time

Hitesh recalled the moment, “He was very reluctant to play full-time cricket. Even after scoring a hundred as a Delhi skipper in a U-14 tournament, he wasn't excited. The moment he did well for Delhi U-16, he started thinking about it.”

Manjot Kalra, who has been trained by Sanjay Bhardwaj, the same coach who trained players like Gautam Gambhir, Amit Mishra, Unmukt Chand and Nitish Rana, started to think about cricket as a career by then and went against enrolling himself into a college after passing out from school.

“He realized he needed to be traveling to play higher levels of cricket. He didn't want to worry about college attendance and other things. He intends to go to college this year. He is focused and calm now. He trains for nearly six-seven hours a day. His routine didn't have anything but home and ground. Score big and have a good temperament, that's all I tell him,” Kalra's coach Sanjay Bhardwaj told the English daily.

Kalra was awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ tag in Saturday’s Under-19 World Cup final for his supreb hundred and leading the team towards their impressive triumph.

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First Published : 04 Feb 2018, 09:41:31 AM