As the 1983 World Cup winning Indian cricket team captain and former Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev called both Raj Angad Bawa and Harnoor Singh, members of the Indian U-19 World Cup winning team, during the UTCA felicitation ceremony, Dev quizzed the youngsters about their road to success at the U-19 level. With Bawa, who was the man of the final in the U-19 World Cup final against England, and Singh, who scored a century in the U-19 World Cup, acting a bit shy, Dev motivated them to speak their mind and also gave them one important lesson.
“Rewards come later for a cricketer. The biggest thing for a cricketer is the motivation to perform better and excel in the long run. One will get respect only till the performance keeps coming and that should be your goal. I have seen the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli. Both matched each other in terms of talent but Kambli went astray. So your motivation should be to aim for perfection and keep working for that,” said Dev while talking with both the players.
Bawa, who was adjudged man of the match in last month’s U-19 World Cup final against England with five wickets for 31 runs and 36 runs, was cheered by father Sukhwinder Bawa and sister Sejal Bawa while Singh was cheered by his father Birinder Singh and grandfather Rajinder Singh. While Bawa had scored a total of 252 runs and claimed nine wickets in the U-19 World Cup, Singh scored 140 runs in the tournament. The duo also made their first class debut earlier last month when they played for UTCA in the Ranji Trophy. Bawa, who has been honing his skills as an all-rounder for long, also counted the meeting with Dev as a memorable one.
“A day prior to the U-19 World Cup final, the whole team watched the Bollywood movie 83. Kapil sir has been India’s greatest all-rounder and everybody aspires to be like him,” said Bawa.
“The biggest moment for us has been to win the trophy,” said Singh. Bawa also remembered his U-19 skipper Yash Dhull motivating him and other players after they tested positive for Covid-19 in West Indies. “After we tested positive for Covid-19, we would often talk on video call and motivate each other. Skipper Yash Dhull showed full confidence in my abilities. When I gave away 17 runs in my first over against South Africa, he supported me and I claimed four wickets in the match before helping the team in the remaining matches with ball as well as bat,” said Bawa.
While Bawa was picked up for Rs 2 crore by Punjab Kings in the IPL auction last month, Singh remained unsold. Bawa will be joining the IPL side ahead of this month’s IPL on Thursday in Mumbai. “When Harnoor went unsold, I thought the same will happen with me. To be picked up at such a price only motivates me as I believe that the price was for my past performances. Now I have to prove my worth for the team. Taking my maiden first class wicket in Ranji Trophy last month also means a lot for me. I am looking to spend time under coach Anil Kumble sir and players like Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal and Liam Livingstone,” said Bawa.
Singh too sounded optimistic about his days ahead. “Right now my focus on the CK Nayudu Trophy and I believe if I keep performing well, I can play in IPL too one day,” said Singh.
Naming stadium after Kapil Dev
With UT Adviser Dharam Pal, UT Secretary sports Sarpreet Singh Gill and UT director sports Tejdeep Singh Saini present during the function, some of the UTCA officials also requested the adviser to name the Sector 16 Stadium after Dev.
“We had met the then UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore about naming the Sector 16 Stadium after Kapil Dev and the pavilion after Yuvraj Singh. The request has been with the UT Administration and hopefully it will be done,” said UTCA president Sanjay Tandon.