Mandeep overcomes grief of father’s death to stay on in IPL
IPL 2020: The 28-year-old Punjab batsman got news on Friday night that his father Hardev Singh, 68, battling a liver disease and admitted in a Mohali hospital, was no more. Mandeep took a difficult decision to stay back in the UAE and was also drafted into the playing eleven to open.Updated: Oct 26, 2020, 08:37 IST
Kings XI Punjab batsman Mandeep Singh moved his teammates and fans after overcoming the grief of his father’s death to play in Saturday’s crucial IPL win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai.
The 28-year-old Punjab batsman got news on Friday night that his father Hardev Singh, 68, battling a liver disease and admitted in a Mohali hospital, was no more. Mandeep took a difficult decision to stay back in the UAE and was also drafted into the playing eleven to open with skipper KL Rahul after Mayank Agarwal sat out due to a leg injury.
Mandeep scored 17 runs off 14 balls, providing a useful start in what turned out to be a low-scoring thriller in the end with KXIP winning by 12 runs. He was also fully involved on the field, taking the catch of Jason Holder in the frantic final phase to peg back SRH’s chase and egging his teammates on.
When his young Punjab team mate Arshdeep Singh took two wickets in the final over to seal the win, Mandeep was at hand to provide constant encouragement.
The KXIP players wore black arm bands as a mark of respect to Mandeep’s father and dedicated the victory in Dubai to the former athletics coach.
“Our father was our strength. He was an athletics coach but never imposed anything on Mandeep. He wanted to be a cricketer and our father always encouraged him. Mandeep was heartbroken but our father would not have wanted him to be back in the middle of the tournament. So, he decided to stay back for his team,” the player’s elder brother Harvinder, a veterinary doctor who too has played the game, said.
Mandeep attended the last rites through a video call.
During the lockdown, Mandeep worked hard on fitness in hometown Jalandhar to prepare for IPL. He and his wife had been with his ailing father in recent months, spending a lot of time with him. Ina recent interview, Mandeep said “lockdown has given us time to be with family and enjoy. Once cricket starts, will be travelling all the time. My parents are happy to see me home, eating home-cooked food. I have never felt so fit in my career.”
Mandeep first came to limelight at the 2010 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. That year, he was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL with many regarding him as a future India prospect. Mandeep switched to Kings XI Punjab in 2011. The next year, Mandeep was declared a rising star of IPL after aggregating 432 runs in 16 games. He has been with Royal Challengers Bangalore too.
“Mandeep’s father was a driving force behind him. They were like friends. Whatever grit Mandeep has got comes from his parents. He was broken on hearing the news, but composed himself for the game. His father had watched some of the IPL games Mandeep played in and was happy for him. I could not be with Mandeep in this time of grief but he is doing what his dad wanted him to do, which is play cricket,” said Mandeep’s wife Jagdeep Jaspal, currently in England.
A prayer meeting for his father will be held in Jalandhar once Mandeep returns.
Mandeep has played three T20s for India—in the 2016 series in Zimbabwe in 2016. He has been a prolific scorer for Punjab in the last two seasons, coming back strongly after undergoing back surgery in 2018.
Playing sport professionally in a bio-secure bubble during the pandemic is in itself emotionally draining, and many players have had to deal with setbacks within their family.
A few days ago, KKR batsman Nitish Rana lost his father-in-law. He held up a team shirt with father-in-law Surinder’s name as his tribute. England all-rounder Ben Stokes joined Rajasthan Royals only halfway into the season, having travelled to New Zealand to be with his father, Gerard, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer.