Raj Bawa talks Ranji Trophy and the road to IPL

All-rounder Bawa, who made his Ranji Trophy debut for Chandigarh and played two group matches, is gearing up for IPL with Punjab Kings.

Raj Angad Bawa credited his father, Sukhwinder, for coaching and guidance.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Under-19 World Cup winner Raj Bawa said he would approach the Indian Premier League (IPL) with an open mind to learn and excel as a player.

All-rounder Bawa, who made his Ranji Trophy debut for Chandigarh and played two group matches, looked forward to gaining from his association with his illustrious Punjab Kings mates.

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“A lot of seniors, including Shikhar (Dhawan) paaji, Rishi (Dhawan) paaji, Sandeep Sharma paaji and top players from other countries, will be there. Anil Kumble Sir is there in the coaching staff. I will get to learn a lot from all of them,” Bawa told Sportstar.

Summing up his switch from white ball to red ball cricket, Bawa said, “It's a little different. When you play a session or two, you get adjusted to it. I had played some practice matches. But the season did not take place (due to corona) for two years. Before that I had played in the Cooch Behar Trophy.

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“You have to change your approach (in red ball). I was careful against the away going deliveries while batting and bowled according to the team's plan. Initially I had a few issues during the practice sessions, but I found control (while bowling).”

Bawa approached the Ranji Trophy with a fresh mindset. “I got confidence as we won the tournament (under-19 World Cup) and I had good performances. I knew Ranji Trophy was a new tournament and I had to make fresh efforts.

“Everybody was welcoming and made us (me and Harnoor Singh) comfortable in the Chandigarh team. Never felt we were among the seniors and the gelling happened very easily.”

Bawa understood the rigours of transitioning to the higher level as a fast bowling all-rounder. “I have to give extra attention to my fitness as I need to focus on batting, bowling and fielding. I have some ideas about how I can manage my body. I learnt a few things from the under-19 exposure. I hope to learn some more from the IPL.”

The 19-year-old credited his father Sukhwinder Singh Bawa, a player-turned-coach, for guidance. “My father has taught me everything and I am here because of his guidance. If I don’t do well in one or two matches, then he guides me to get back to my natural game. He has seen me play from my childhood and his inputs help a lot,” said Bawa.

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