For the last two days, Mohali cricketer Gurkeerat Mann spent his time in the evening with coach Sukhvinder Tinku at his academy in Mohali. The 25-year-old Mann had got an intimation about his selection in the Indian Test team for the second Test match against South Africa to be held in Bengaluru from November 14 and when the news was confirmed on Thursday by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), it was a moment of celebration for Mann’s family and Tinku.
Mann, who was earlier selected in the Indian ODI team for a series against South Africa, also acted as a reserve player for the Indian team which recently won the first Test match against South Africa in Mohali.
“It’s perhaps the best Diwali gift for us. He called us suddenly and informed that he had been chosen in the Test team and had to leave early in the morning. All of us helped him to pack and he also made sure that he visited the gurdwara before he boarded the flight to Bengaluru. We are sure that he will make this opportunity count. He also spent some time with his sister Sanmandeep in Manimajra before he left,” shared Amarpreet Kaur Mann, Gurkeerat’s mother, while talking with Chandigarh Newsline.
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An all-rounder, Mann has scored 1,427 runs in 21 First Class matches so far apart from taking 30 wickets, with his best bowling figures being 5 for 38 in Andhra Pradesh earlier this year. Mann notched up his first double century this season when he played a knock of 201 against Railways at PCA Stadium, Mohali.
Mann started playing cricket at the age of eight years and started training under Tinku. With father Rupinder Singh Mann working in the Punjab Mandi Board, Mann’s mother would take care of dropping and picking Mann after training. Mann scored 449 and 667 runs in the 2012-14 and 2014-2015 Ranji Trohpy for Punjab and also played an unbeaten knock of 87 runs and picked up two wickets for India A side in the Tri series final against Australia A earlier this year.
“It’s been a long journey for him. He is very happy that he has got a chance to be in the Indian team against South Africa, a team which is at the top of world rankings. He knew his chance would come in the Test team but we never knew it would come so early,” said Gurkeerat’s father Rupinder Singh Mann.
For Sukhvinder Tinku, it has been the result of hours of practice by Gurkeerat. The youngster also trained for two days with the coach prior to his departure. “In the last two days, he spent close to four hours practising. We focused on single wicket bowling and how to tackle spin on different kinds of pitches. Test match is also about playing well on all the five days and he focused on that. This selection will boost his confidence a lot and spending time among Indian and South African players will help his game,” said Tinku.