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Why Rahul Dravid took IPL auction as distraction, U-19 star Manjot Kalra reveals

Manjot Kalra, who scored a ton for India in the final of the ICC U-19 cricket World Cup against Australia, says that coach Rahul Dravid did not allow them to watch the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction

cricket Updated: Feb 09, 2018 08:50 IST
Sidharth Gulati
Sidharth Gulati
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
U-19 cricket World Cup,Rahul Dravid,ICC U-19 cricket World CUp
Coach Rahul Dravid guided Indian cricket team to title at the ICC U-19 cricket World Cup. (PTI)

Scoring a century in the final of a World Cup is a dream most batsmen live for. Manjot Kalra — the wonder-kid from Delhi — has already lived that dream helping India lift the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand with a 101 against Australia in the title clash.

READ | Manjot Kalra, the Delhi lad who batted India to the U-19 Cricket World Cup title

Manjot spoke about his cricketing journey, his age-fudging issue and a lot more. Excerpts:

Q. How does it feel to be a part of history?

It feels good. It is a great moment for me, scoring a hundred in the final. It was a moment that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Q. How do you deal with distractions – fame, money that comes from being a player that has won a World Cup?

Money is not a distraction. We had to keep these things aside. We had to maintain our focus on winning the tournament. If I do well, I know the rest will follow.

Q. How was the environment during the IPL auction?

Rahul Dravid sir told us to not watch the IPL auction because it could act as a distraction for people who don’t get selected. During the auction, we were in a team meeting. I got to know (about being bought by Delhi Daredevils) through my family members.

READ | Under-19 World Cup win is a reflection of taking cricket to remote areas: Sachin Tendulkar

Q. Is there any specific thing that Dravid told you?

He said it’s all about the opportunities you get in future. He told us to think of this (U-19 World Cup) as the first step and not the benchmark. It’s because of him we won the World Cup. He was supportive throughout the tournament.

Q. You’ll be sharing the Daredevils dressing room with Gautam Gambhir and Ricky Ponting...

I’m pretty excited. I’ll get the opportunity the face the likes of Kagiso Rabada (in the nets). If I get a chance to play, I’ll be ready to prove myself.

Q. There were allegations of age-fudging against you...

Yes, there were a few hard days. But my family supported me.

Manjot Kalra scored 101 in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup final against Australia. (PTI)

Q. What does the future hold for Manjot Kalra?

If I get opportunities, I’ll look to make the most of them. I can’t say or predict where I’ll be 2 or 3 years from now. If I continue to do well, I will definitely play for India.

Q. The likes of Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and Abhishek Sharma are already playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Are you disappointed?

Actually, Delhi’s squad was finalised a lot earlier. I even spoke to the selectors and they gave me the same reason. Let’s see if I get a chance in the knockouts.

READ | U-19 World Cup stars Shubman Gill, Abhishek Sharma in Punjab’s Vijay Hazare squad

Q. How has the journey been from Adarsh Nagar to Mount Maunganui?

Bahut mehnat lagi hai sir. At one stage, it was very difficult. Then these allegations (of age-fudging). But I performed well in the Challenger Trophy. Luckily, I got selected for the World Cup. I took my preparations seriously and the result is for everyone to see.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 08:34 IST