“My dream is to fly…” Gagandeep Singh loved the lyrics from Swiss DJ Yves Larock Cheminade's hit single, Rise Up. It was his caller tune on his cell phone and was pretty apt, given how highly he was rated by his peers and coaches.
His murder has left everyone shell-shocked. “We have lost a potential star. I couldn't believe the news when I first heard it. We had a lot of hopes from him,” said Dav Whatmore, chief coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
Son of a truck driver from Kanpur, he had been steadily climbing up the ladder for the last three years. After representing Uttar Pradesh in various age groups tournaments and making the transition to the India under-19 team that toured Australia earlier this year, Gagandeep was on the verge of breaking into the Ranji Trophy squad. His uncle Mahendra Singh said the family was shattered. In addition to being their main hope for a better life, he was also dearly loved. “We just can't believe it. He was a responsible boy.”
His friends, too, were in shock. “He was always aware of the fact that he needed to play cricket at the highest level to give his family a better life," said Punjab cricketer Sandeep Sharma.