Shoehorned into spotlight

After 21 wickets in 5 matches in U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy,city medium-pacer Kuljeet Kuhar to attend camp at NCA in Bangalore.

Written by Tashi Lundup | Chandigarh | Published: April 20, 2013 1:01 am

After 21 wickets in 5 matches in U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy,city medium-pacer Kuljeet Kuhar to attend camp at NCA in Bangalore.

Pirouetting like a ballerina,Kuljeet Kuhar started his run-up and,with his heel-to-toe gait influencing his overall action which was smooth and aesthetic,released the red cherry. The sound of the leather ball hitting the wooden stumps had the desired effect on his face,as Kuljeet once again returned to repeat the same act,though this time the ball missed the stumps by few yards. Kuljeet continued to strive,his mission being hitting the wooden stumps everytime the ball is released from his hands.

To watch Kuljeet putting all his energy behind every delivery was enough to suggest that something special was on its way and he was perfecting the art of bowling to stand up to the occasion. On April 21,Kuljeet along with another bowler from Punjab,Resham Sharma,will travel to Bangalore to attend the 40-day Under-16 camp at National Cricket Academy. Despite being still a novice in the sport,Kuljeet was able to impress the BCCI selectors after his dream-like season in which he grabbed 21 wickets in five matches in the Under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy cricket tournament last year.

“It was my first inter-state tournament and it was a great feeling to be among the wickets,and to help my team win matches. And to be selected for the NCA camp so soon in my career is a surreal feeling. I am very excited and delighted,” said the medium-pacer.

His feelings,when he was handed over his debut inter-state match against Haryana,were mixed because he was going to bowl against a state side where he was born and brought. But what he did with the ball told a different story: six wickets in the first innings and two in the second,as Kuljeet finished with eight wickets in his first match. He continued in the same vein: bowling an immaculate line and length and depending on his outswingers to work the magic. And how the magic worked as he finished among the top wicket-takers along with Resham.

“It was Harminder (Singh Pannu) sir who worked hard on my game and provided me constant encouragement. It was him who told me that I can go far and it is his belief in me that has given me the confidence to give the best,” said Kuljeet,16.


Born in Bhiwani,Haryana,Kuljeet could have easily followed in others’ footsteps and aspire to be the next Vijender Singh or Akhil Kumar. But boxing was not his forte,cricket was.

Wielding the wooden willow and bowling the red cherry in the same match was what attracted him to the sport. It helped that his elder brother,Vikas Kuhar,shared his fascination for cricket and the two often played together in the fields.

And it was Vikas who initiated his dreams of becoming a professional cricketer by supporting Kuljeet’s decision to move to Chandigarh for better training. And he ended up at the DAV Cricket Academy in Sector 8. “I came to Chandigarh four years ago. I was asked to bowl,bat and do some fielding and then I was selected. It was one of the happiest days of my life because my dreams had come true. But I knew I needed to prove that I belong in the sport,” said the Class X student of DAV School,Sector 8.

He first came into prominence in Under-14 inter-school tournament where he ended up with 11 wickets and 115 runs in four matches. His ability to consistently bowl wicket-to-wicket not only got him wickets but also impressed Pannu and his other coach Ravi at the Academy.

After another impressive performance in the Under-15 age category,Kuljeet was ready to explode on the Under-16 scene. In the Punjab inter-district tournament,he ended up with 13 wickets in five matches but he really signalled his arrival with a top display in the Vijay Merchant Trophy.

“I am really looking to the camp at NCA because I want to improve my bowling and also learn the finer nuances of the art of bowling. Plus,I will really work hard on my fitness and if possible,improve my batting also. In the coming years,I want to bowl faster since Brett Lee is my favourite bowler. But right now,I just want to work on the basics and hope I can make it to the BCCI Specialist Academy at the PCA Stadium in Mohali,”” signed off the bowler who also idolises Punjab bowler Manpreet Gony.

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