Kalra: ‘We’ll miss each other quite a lot’

Delhi boy Manjot Kalra, the hero of the ICC U19 World Cup, says the team bonded well but it will be difficult for all of them to meet regularly in the next level.

Manjot Kalra (left) celebrates the team's victory with team-mate Harvik Desai at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.   -  AFP


India U19 cricketer Manjot Kalra, who smashed an unbeaten hundred in the World Cup final against Australia at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Saturday, said he will miss his team-mates as they progress to the next level from now.

“We’ve bonded very well and we’ll all miss each other quite a lot. That’s the best thing about this team. Hopefully, we all meet in the senior team, but it’ll be difficult for all of us to meet together even if we’re at a camp or something like that,” said Kalra, who scored 101 off 102 balls, laced with eight fours and three sixes, which helped India win by eight wickets.

Read: Ton-up Kalra powers India to fourth U-19 World Cup title

The 19-year-old rated his innings as personal “best”. “A World Cup final winning knock, and that too a hundred, is a big deal. I think it’s my best knock so far, I’ll definitely remember it for a while,” he added.

Kalra also looked in fine touch against Pakistan in the semifinal, but he was dismissed for 47. “I felt bad at the time. I just made sure I could do better when I got the chance. Thankfully, I got the chance in a final, and I made use of the opportunity,” said Kalra, admitting that there was a bit of nervousness as he stepped on to the big stage. “It was really a great moment, but we enjoyed a lot while batting.”

Shubman Gill’s dismissal could have created openings for Australia but Kalra stood his ground. “When Shubman came out to bat, we talked and he asked me to play my natural strokes. When he got out, I knew I would have to finish the game. So I told Harvik (Desai) the same thing, that he’ll play the singles and then later on, try and hit. He took time to settle, but after that he scored a lot runs. I knew I needed to take charge of the game, and that if I got out, the new batsmen would have a problem settling in,” he asserted.

Also read:“We are elated at the performance of our son,” Shubman’s father

Rahul Dravid, the coach, had been a pillar for the colts. “He told us how to attack and pace the innings. He told us to stick to our abilities and that we would be able to chase the score easily,” said Kalra.

Talking about New Zealand, the host nation, he said, “The wickets here are quite flat, as in the ball comes on to the bat quite nicely. Both batsmen and bowlers get something from the wicket.”

Though Kalra is used to huge crowds from his local tournament days, but this, he confessed, was the biggest. “I’ve played in front of decent crowds in local tournaments. Many people used to come for these matches, you know how crazy Indians are about cricket. But this was something else. I knew a lot of Indians would come to watch.”

Dravid: 'Wish the boys many more great moments in future'

The IPL is the next big stage for the Delhi boy. He will be representing Delhi Daredevils. “I’ll go and play my natural game, and it will come off, sometimes it may not. I’ll have to go and practice in that format. If I make an IPL debut — I don’t know if it’ll happen or not — but I’ll be nervous. I’ll see about it then,” he added.

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