It has been a steady rise for the 25-year-old SAS Nagar cricketer Gurkeerat Singh Mann. Graduating from the age group cricket first, he established himself in the state Ranji team before earning a name for himself in the Indian Premier League. But September 20, 2015, will always be a watershed moment in his life. It was on this day that he realised his dream by getting a place in the India squad for the upcoming series against South Africa starting October 2.
Gurkeerat Singh Mann’s mother Amarpreet Kaur talks to her son after getting the news of his selection in the Indian team at her residence in SAS Nagar on Sunday.
The day turned out to be an unforgettable one for the Manns. No sooner did the news of his selection in the ODI team broke than their residence in SAS Nagar was flooded with well-wishers. The man of the hour, though, was away playing for India A in an unofficial ODI against Bangladesh A in Bangalore.
“He is obsessed with the game. Studies never excited him but cricket did. It was his passion for the game that made us sit back and let him play,” said Gurkeerat’s mother Amarpreet Kaur. His father Rupinder Singh Mann works with Punjab Mandi Board.
“We haven’t been able to catch our breath since the news broke. The real celebrations will start when he comes back from Bengaluru. He had been expecting the call but not that soon. A few days back, he told us that maybe the selectors need to see more of him,” his mother said.
PERFORMED WELL FOR INDIA-A
Gurkeerat, who last year fulfilled another dream of owning a Harley Davidson, managed to grab the selectors’ attention with some fine outings for India-A in the recent months. His unbeaten 87 and 2 for 42 were instrumental in India-A grabbing the title in the tri-series final against Australia-A in August. A few days ago, Gurkeerat scored 65 and took 5 for 29 against visiting Bangladesh-A studded with many international players.
His coach Sukhwinder Singh Tinku describes his ward as humble and down to earth. “If you meet him, he is totally focused when on the field. You can trust that he will give his 100%. He has a tenacity to fight and slug it out for the team. He is not the one who gives up easily,” said Tinku, Gurkeerat’s longtime coach.
Gurkeerat started as a number 3 for Punjab, but eventually shifted down the batting order as per the need of the team. He has been a consistent performer for the state in all formats and managed to hog limelight in the IPL too with some breathtaking catches and knocks for Kings-XI Punjab.
Punjab coach and former national selector Bhupinder Singh Sr, too, believes that Gurkeerat was ready for the challenge. “I have followed him since his days in U-19 cricket. He is someone who has an aggressive batting style but has enough talent and skills to back it up. The call has come at the right time. He has worked hard and his recent performances in India-A have certainly boosted his confidence,” Bhupinder said.
Bhupinder added that what sets Gurkeerat apart is a cool and mature head, something which will serve him well against the South Africans. “He has uncanny ability to analyse a situation and change his game accordingly. The pressures of international cricket are a bit different but if he is able to handle them, I am sure he will establish himself in the team,” he added.