Priyam Garg waits to take that big step
Unlike any of his predecessors, Garg has been made to wait endlessly – and for no real fault of his own either – to show what he is made of.Updated: Aug 01, 2020 07:52 IST
All of Priyam Garg’s predecessors – everyone from Virat Kohli in the inaugural edition to Prithvi Shaw in 2018 – were trusted with an IPL contract immediately after they had led India at the Under-19 World Cup. And Garg, snapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 1.9 crore, is no different. He too has a dream in his eyes and the world at his feet.
But unlike any of his predecessors, Garg has been made to wait endlessly – and for no real fault of his own either – to show what he is made of.
It has now been a little over five months since Garg’s boys lost narrowly to Bangladesh in the U-19 final in Potchefstroom; and four months since the IPL should have begun in Mumbai. But Garg is still in Meerut, waiting for his long-awaited journey to begin in September.
Instead of getting into a funk, Garg says that he has kept himself busy with memories of that thriller of a World Cup final, which Bangladesh won by three wickets. “I enjoyed my journey in the World Cup and learnt a lot from the loss in the final,” he says.
Does he feel India choked by the pressure? “No. There was no pressure on anyone. We stuck to our basics, but things didn’t happen the way we wanted to,” he says, before adding, “Every moment of your life teaches you something and I am sure I will be a mature batsman in the IPL.”
It is of course understandable that, for Garg, all conversations eventually lead back to the IPL. In preparation, Garg spent the copious amounts of free time by keeping in touch with his batting. “I am stroking the ball nicely. Soon after Unlock 1.0 was announced, I started hitting the ball in the nets,” he says.
Garg, who has scored two half centuries in the last 10 U-19 matches, including one against Sri Lanka at the World Cup, will complete SRH’s search for a middle-order batsman if he comes good with the willow. The transition from Under-19 to IPL won’t be easy but the Meerut boy believes he has the talent to make a mark. “IPL is a big platform and every performance here gets counted. If I get my chance, I will give it my all,” he says.
He has been giving it all in the nets as well, using his training time to hone his skills. For two hours a day at Meerut’s Victoria Park, Garg faces nearly 300 throwdowns from coach Sanjay Rastogi, apart from facing some quality bowling, including leg-spinner Karn Sharma.
It was under the tutelage of Rastogi that Garg not only went on to lead India’s age-group side, but prior to the tournament in South Africa he also starred for Uttar Pradesh in his maiden Ranji Trophy season with 800-plus runs. To bat long hours requires immense focus and fitness, and Rastogi ensured that Garg didn’t slack when it came to either during the time of the pandemic.
“Fitness, on the ground, will be an issue in the beginning of the IPL, and if someone is in good shape, he will surely be a few notches above the others,” says Garg. “I was lucky to get my weights just days before the lockdown. So while staying indoors was a problem for most cricketers I know, it was fine with me because I had my equipment.”
The months away from the grind has allowed Garg to recharge his batteries. “I didn’t waste this opportunity,” he says. Those are of course words that he will hopefully repeat when Garg speaks of his maiden IPL experience as well.