Staring at idols and greats,and returning awestruck will not be the case with Manan Sharma anymore. The all-rounder,after spending two years on the sidelines,has bagged his rights to rub shoulders with players like Daniel Vettori and Glenn McGrath for Delhi Daredevils. The IPL contract is worth his consistent last season and especially the tour Down under with the India U-19 team where he grabbed nine wickets and scored 126 runs while getting to bat only twice. The 17-year-old was not expecting anything but the runs and wickets just made the wait more anxious. I was expecting something after the recent performances but not exactly an IPL contract. Its a big moment for me. If I get a chance to bowl alongside Daniel Vettori,Ill be living a dream. Add to that what Ill learn. As a reserve I used to ask him a lot of questions and the slight change in my action is due to that. Now Ill get more time to share with him, Manan says,recollecting his first days with the New Zealand skipper at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
The youngster is also aware of the bitter side of the deal. With Vettori and Amit Mishra in the team he is ready to wait longer. And if it gets over,there will be the pressure of impressing in the one-chance situation. All this,however,is dealt with a passing smile for the time being. I know it will be very difficult for me to get a game straightaway with such big names in the team. But it will keep me under pressure. If I finally get a match I have to do good enough to keep the selectors thinking, the left-hander says,speaking to Sportline.
Batting will come handy
To increase his chances,Manan has kept an alternative for the selectors toohis batting. Of late,hes got the best of whatever opportunities he got with the willow. In Australia he scored 45 and 81 - the latter at Perth in two innings and hit 43 the only time he batted in the Ranji one-dayers last season. He,however,still prioritises his spinning abilities and says batting will only help open the door of Twenty20. I have been more consistent with my batting of late but bowling remains my basic interest. My batting has improved with every local and club match and it will help me immensely when I play Twenty 20. The format wants you to do everything but I think anyone can do well. IPLs last edition proved that bowlers can have their days too. So,Im not afraid of the format anyways, he says.
Besides the IPL though,the Kotla will no more be Manans home of cricket. The wait for the Delhi Ranji cap is something he couldnt stand anymore and joined the Haryana U-19 team. Even after the recent reservations voiced by Delhi skipper Virender Sehwag and a few team mates against selection issues that may lead to changes,Manan doesnt regret the decision.
I left Delhi for not getting enough opportunities and Im well aware that I have to do the same thing (for Haryana) all over again playing for the under-19 team. As a young player I just want to play,but I wasnt getting enough chances in Delhi. Before last years quarter-final against Bengal I had scored about 390 runs and taken 26 wickets. I was dropped and we lost the match outright.