What does an upcoming cricketer do when suddenly, out of the blue, he receives the news of his inclusion in the squad? Well, one of the things, besides jumping with joy and ,maybe, doing a winning lap, is to have the news re-checked.
That was the dilemma of Gurkeerat Singh Mann, when while fielding in the outfield he felt a sudden commotion in the dressing room. Immediately after geeting the news of his selection in the Indian ODI team, Mann called for drinks off the very next ball so as to confirm the news with his teammates.
Back in city after a weeklong preparatory fitness camp in Bangalore, Gurkeerat has returned with pretty clear idea of what entails to be an international cricketer.
“You learn from such an exposure. Seeing all these players who are world beaters in their own right from close quarters gives you a lot to think about your preparations and game. Basically, one gets a clear idea of what needs to be done to sustain oneself at this level. It’s also morale booster for a rookie like me. I am working hard on my fitness and I am confident of doing well for the team when I get the opportunity,” Gurkeerat said.
Gurkeerat said, he and Karnataka’s medium pacer S Arvind were both welcomed in the team by Indian team director Ravi Shastri. “The message from him was simple: enjoy the game and be natural,” he said.
Gurkeerat, who is most likely to play Punjab’s Ranji season opener against Railways from October 1 to 4, scheduled to be held in PCA Stadium, said that despite the exposure a player gets from Indian Premier League (IPL), there is still a lot of difference when it comes to playing international cricket.
“IPL has had a big impact on players across the country. By rubbing shoulders with the international players you get to know your game and can analyse it better as to what one needs to do in order to succeed. Every player starts with a dream of playing for the country one day. I will say that I have been lucky that my performances came at the right time and there were people to guide me at every step. If Sukhwinder Tinku sir was there for me at the initial stages, India A coach Rahul Dravid stepped in during my stint with India A. His inputs have been very helpful. Bhajji Bhai (Harbhajan Singh) was the first to congratulate me and said I can come to him any time if I needed any help. My family has also been my rock, supporting me and encouraging me,” he said.
Gurkeerat said he doesn’t feel any added pressure on being included as an all-rounder but considers it as a blessing and sees it an opportunity to help the side win.