Now, I have to carry on and score more runs, says Anmolpreet

On Sunday, Anmolpreet Singh made a memorable India 'A' first-class debut, scoring an elegant unbeaten 116 against Sri Lanka 'A'.

Anmolpreet Singh in action against Sri Lanka 'A' in Belagavi.   -  BCCI

These are formative days in Anmolpreet Singh’s career, and who better to learn from than two bona fide legends. As part of the India-A team, he is coached by Rahul Dravid, and in the IPL, he got the chance to interact closely with Sachin Tendulkar in the Mumbai Indians team.

“Sachin sir is a legend. I was desperate to meet him,” Anmolpreet, 21, says, “One day, Sachin sir watched me bat in the MI nets. He liked my batting and complimented me. That was a big moment.”

Anmolpreet shares a similar admiration for Dravid. “I’ve watched Dravid sir bat on television - what a great batsman he was. It’s unbelievable to think that Dravid sir is now my coach,” he says.

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Family of sportspersons

Anmolpreet hails from a family of sportspersons, in Patiala (Punjab). His father was an international handball player, while Anmolpreet and his cousins were drawn to cricket. “As a kid, I would go and watch my elder cousins play college and club cricket matches. That’s where my love for cricket started. My father was encouraging, and took me to the Black Elephant Cricket Club in Patiala,” he says.

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Gaining prominence

Very soon, two of his younger cousins – Prabhsimran Singh and Tejpreet Singh – followed suit and joined Anmolpreet at the club.

Anmolpreet first gained prominence when he won the ‘Player Of The Match’ award in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup semifinal, against Sri Lanka. Anmolpreet showed great grit, scoring 72 to rescue his team from 27 for two. “That innings gave me a lot of happiness, as it came in a knockout game of a big tournament. It was a real test of my confidence and mental strength. I walked in to bat knowing that I had to grab this chance to do well for myself and the country,” he says.

The 2019 IPL auctions then put the spotlight on his family, as Prabhsimran was selected for ₹4.8 crore by Kings XI Punjab, and Mumbai Indians signed Anmolpreet for ₹80 lakhs. IPL caps were hard to come by, however, as Prabhsimran featured in one game while Anmolpreet spent the tournament on the bench. “We wanted to use the IPL experience to become better cricketers, and that goal was achieved,” he says.

The financial rewards of the IPL may have been huge, but it is not time to enjoy the spoils yet. “My father reminds us that the only dream that really counts is to play for India and to make our country proud,” Anmolpreet says.

He is taking the first steps in that direction. On Sunday, Anmolpreet made a memorable India-A first-class debut, scoring an elegant unbeaten 116 against Sri Lanka-A here. “Having done well in my first match, the pressure has eased off a little. Now I have to carry on and score more runs for India-A and Punjab,” Anmolpreet says.