With more than 300 runs under his belt, Mohali batsman 20-year-old Ramandeep Singh emerged as the top scorer for Punjab in the BCCI U-23 One Day League and helped the team win the title in Lucknow last month. The youngster, whose father Hardev Singh is a former international cyclist, smashed one century and two half-centuries in the tournament and the Mohali cricketer counts the performance as a morale-boosting outing.
“I was aiming for a good performance in the tournament. Initially, I played lower in the batting order but in the knock-out stage, coach Sunil Saggi and skipper Karan Kaila showed confidence in me and sent me up the batting order. The knock in the quarter-final against Odisha lifted my confidence and the century in the semi-final against Madhya Pradesh came after we lost two quick wickets. In the final, I was able to stitch together a partnership with Sanvir Singh and the title win meant a lot to all of us,” said Ramandeep, originally a native of Chaudhriwal near Gurdaspur, Punjab.
While Ramandeep’s father pursued cycling in his youth, the son opted for cricket after seeing India win the ICC T-20 World Cup in 2007. Training under coach Sukhwinder Tinkoo in Mohali, Ramandeep made it to the Mohali U-16 team and scored two hundreds for the second-placed team in the Punjab Inter-District Championship in 2012. Four years later, the cricketer smashed one century and two half-centuries in the Punjab U-19 Inter-District Championships followed by scoring his highest score of 193 against Jalandhar in the Katoch Shield last year.
The youngster also made his debut for the Punajb senior team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy against Haryana last year. “I opted for cricket in 2007 when India won the T-20 World Cup. The centuries at the U-16 and U-19 level for Mohali helped my game and gave me confidence. Last year, during my debut for the Punjab senior team, coach Arun Sharma and skipper Harbhajan Singh talked to me and gave me tips. Playing for the Punjab U-23 team also gave me a chance to play along with Anmolpreet Singh, who hit three double hundreds in the Ranji Trophy. He is like a brother to me and his inputs, too, helped my game. My aim is now to be selected for the Indian U-23 team in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup later this year. Teams like Sri Lanka and Pakistan will play along with India,” said the 5 foot 10 inch tall right-hand batsman.
Punjab U-23 coach Sunil Saggi (53), too, believes that the youngster has got the game to excel at the national level. “Ramandeep showed his talent for the Punjab U-23 team and his knocks were crucial in helping Punjab win the title. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and scoring more than 300 runs in the tournament will help his cause. He needs more practice to score more runs in the longer format of the game,” said Saggi.