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Harsh Tyagi can perform under pressure, says coach Phoolchand Sharma

With a chance to play for the Ranji team looking difficult in near future as Delhi already have a slew of left-arm spinners, Harsh Tyagi switched to Railways where he managed to secure a job.

cricket Updated: Oct 08, 2018 17:44 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Harsh Tyagi,Cricket,Phoolchand Sharma
Harsh Tyagi’s inclusion in Delhi cricket was opposed by ex-India cricketer Kirti Azad. (Facebook)

India’s U-19 Asia Cup final hero Harsh Tyagi’s coach Phoolchand Sharma recalls two games which convinced him that the left-arm spinner was made for bigger things.

“When he was still under-14, he played a game for Delhi Wonders against a strong FCI team in the DDCA Hot Weather tournament at Kotla. He picked four for 28 in seven overs in his team’s win. Ex-India star Joginder Sharma, who was adjudged man of the match for his 81 and two wickets, gifted his award (Rs 4000 and a T-shirt) to the little boy to encourage him,” says Phoolchand, who trains Tyagi at his academy in a Noida school.

“Around the same period, (ex-Delhi stumper) Puneet Bisht took him to play a game for a club at a city tournament. The club coach refused to play such a young kid but gave in after Bisht insisted. He bowled one change and picked four for 28 in about seven overs which helped rein in the opposition that had raced to 80 in eight overs,” said Phoolchand, who has also coached India’s 2018 U-19 World Cup-winning hero Shivam Mavi.

However, things weren’t always rosy. Tyagi was one of the many players, along with U-19 World Cup stars Mavi and Manjot Kalra, whose inclusion in Delhi cricket was opposed by ex-India cricketer Kirti Azad on account of alleged age discrepancy. Tyagi survived that and played for the Delhi U-19s to become one of the top wicket-takers in the country at the level in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

“The U-19 performance in 2016-17 (48 wickets) helped him earn a place in U-23 side where he took 15 wickets in three games. He picked 45 wickets for U-19 side in 2017-18. But last season he got just two U-23 games where he was under-bowled,” says Phoolchand.

With a chance to play for the Ranji team looking difficult in near future as Delhi already have a slew of left-arm spinners in Manan Sharma, Vikas Mishra and Pawan Negi, Tyagi switched to Railways where he managed to secure a job.

“It was always going to be tough to play in Delhi. With Railways, he got a job which is great for an 18-year-old,” says the coach.

First Published: Oct 08, 2018 17:43 IST