I was not destined to wear the India cap, says Gagandeep Singh

The closest Gagandeep came to playing for India was on the 2004 tour to Bangladesh when he was picked along with Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and S. S. Paul.

Gagandeep Singh (c) figured in the IPL in 2008 when Kings XI Punjab picked him. (File Photo)   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Gagandeep Singh’s presence at the PCS Stadium in Mohali rekindled memories for the Punjab fast bowler of some memorable days spent on the domestic circuit.

Close to ten years ago he had played his last first-class match, Ranji Trophy encounter against Odisha, at the same venue.

When he realised there was hardly a chance for him to get into the national squad, he decided to take a bow in 2010.

“I worked hard to find a place in the Indian team but the competition was tough. I was not destined to wear the India cap,” he says with a smile. “I have no complaints against anyone.”

The closest Gagandeep came to playing for India was on the 2004 tour to Bangladesh when he was picked along with Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and S. S. Paul.

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It was the tour that saw M. S. Dhoni make his Test debut. “We all knew that Dhoni was an exceptional player and was bound to make a huge impact. The tour was my best chance to play for India but it remained a dream for me,” said Gagandeep.

The 37-year-old played 66 first-class matches and figured in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 when Kings XI Punjab picked him.

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“It was a memorable experience and the IPL was a great platform for those wanting to learn. I am not surprised that the IPL has become so big now. It commands a special place in the international calendar. Everyone wants to play the IPL.”

After taking up some coaching assignments, Gagandeep decided to migrate to Canada in 2016.

“I had relatives there (in Toronto) and thought it was the right time to move. Cricket was my first love and I soon found work there,” added Gagandeep.

He is now a selector and coach with the Cricket Canada. “My main source of earning is as a property agent but cricket also keeps me busy. It is not the main game in Canada where winter sport is far more popular. But I am involved with a programme called Chance to Shine where I visit schools and teach the basics of the game. I also get to travel to the Caribbean for cricket,” said Gagandeep, who was on a family visit to India.