Mannat Kashyap seeks inspiration from ‘calm and cool’ Harmanpreet’s mindset ahead of U-19 T20 World Cup

Mannat is currently featuring in the five-match T20 series against New Zealand and on Sunday, she claimed five for 25 to guide her team to a 29-run win and help India take a 4-0 lead in the series.

Mannat Kashyap at the MCA-BKC ground on Sunday.

Mannat Kashyap at the MCA-BKC ground on Sunday. | Photo Credit: SHAYAN ACHARYA

Mannat is currently featuring in the five-match T20 series against New Zealand and on Sunday, she claimed five for 25 to guide her team to a 29-run win and help India take a 4-0 lead in the series.

Mannat Kashyap has known Harmanpreet Kaur for a long time. She has had the opportunity of knowing the India senior women’s team captain from close quarters as her cousin Noopur is Harmanpreet’s old friend, Punjab teammate and manager.

And ever since she started her career, Mannat has looked up to Harmanpreet as her inspiration.

“I have learned a lot from Harry di and she has guided me as and when needed,” the 18-year-old left-arm spinner tells  Sportstar.

She is currently featuring in the India U-19 Women’s team’s five-match T20 series against New Zealand and on Sunday, she claimed a five-for (five for 25) to guide her team to a 29-run win and take a 4-0 lead in the series.

Even though Gongadi Trisha top-scored with 39, a middle-order collapse led to India being restricted to 121 for nine in 20 overs, and defending a low total, the home team rode on Mannat’s fifer to bundle out New Zealand for 92.

But things did not start smoothly for Mannat as she conceded three boundaries early on.

“The starting was not good as I was hit for three fours in the first over itself, but I had confidence in my bowling that I can bounce back,” she says.

“I had 18 more deliveries to prove myself and I kept telling myself that ‘ tu yahan se wicket nikaal, team ke liye achha hoga…’ and I just kept doing that,” Mannat says.

When she conceded three boundaries, the coaching staff told her to stick to the basics and not explore too many variations, and she listened to them.

“We knew that New Zealand are good with their cuts and pull shots, so the idea was to stick to the basics and try looking for wickets…”

Youngest of four siblings, Mannat started her career at the age of eight and would initially play and train with the boys as there weren’t any women’s cricket academies in Patiala at that time.

She eventually made it to Punjab’s age-group and senior teams. With the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup coming up next month, Mannat wants to play to her strengths.

“I just want to improve on a few areas,” she says. “I have learned from Harry di how to be calm and cool. On the field, I admire her game sense and I have tried observing her game and I implement those learnings in my game,” she says.

A class XII student at Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Patiala, Mannat has so far managed to maintain a balance between her studies and cricket.

“The school has supported me a lot and they are also happy that I will hopefully go on to play the U-19 World Cup. But even after the games are over, I am preparing for my Board examinations. I am carrying my text books and also learning online.”

Mannat, who studies humanities, quips, “It is easier to claim a five-for on the field than preparing for a political science examination…”

With just a month left for the tournament, Mannat wants to have a conversation with Harmanpreet before leaving for South Africa, where the India U-19 team will play a couple of practice games before participating in the World Cup.

“Even Harry di will be busy with the T20 World Cup and bilateral series, but I will definitely speak to her and try to understand how to approach the World Cup. I want to know her mindset and learn a thing or two…”

Noopur, being an elder sister, has been her go-to-person, and Mannat knows that “ jab didi ankh dikhati hai, that means, I have done something wrong…”

She adds with a smile, “that helps me in rectifying my mistakes and focus on my game. It has always been like that…”

And ahead of her first ICC event, Mannat wants to keep it going.

BRIEF SCORES
India Women’s U-19 121/9 (Gongadi Trisha 39, Parshavi Chopra 17; Kayley Knight 2-20, Ocean Bartlett 2-16)  beat New Zealand Women’s U-19 92 (Prue Cotton 16; Mannat Kashyap 5-25, M Shabnam 2-8).
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