Growing up in his native village Mehrana in Fazilka district in Punjab, a young Raman Bishnoi would often see his father Ripudaman Bishnoi spending his time in their seven-acre farmland apart from playing in the village cricket tournaments. The youngster would also accompany his father to the tournaments and would play in the tournaments along with his father before the family decided to send the youngster to Chandigarh to hone his cricketing skills.
This Ranji Trophy season has seen Bishnoi hitting two centuries apart from one half-century in Chandigarh’s last match against Sikkim in the plate group at Sector 16 Stadium and as Chandigarh face Goa in their sixth Ranji Trophy Plate Group encounter at Goa, Bishnoi remembered his starting days in cricket at his village and Chandigarh.
“My first memories of cricket are seeing my father watching cricket on television and playing cricket at the village cricket tournaments. Apart from managing the farm work, my father would also practice and later play in the village tournaments. When I started accompanying him, he would always talk about cricket and wanted me to become a professional cricketer. It was the reason that my family decided to send me to Chandigarh to train at DAV School, Sector 8. It also meant that I stayed in a hostel for the first time. My coach at school Ravi Verma sir supported me a lot. Even though I missed my family, I knew I was following my father’s dream,” shared Bishnoi while talking with Chandigarh Newsline over phone from Goa.
While Bishnoi would spend most of his time on batting during his early days at DAV School, Sector 8, the youngster would also try his hands at spin bowling. In 2017, Bishnoi would claim 25 wickets for Chandigarh while playing in Punjab U-19 Inter-District Championships.
This year, when Chandigarh got BCCI affiliation, Bishnoi appeared for the UTCA trials and the batting all-rounder made the grade for the Chandigarh U-23 team. In the BCCI U-23 One-Day tournament, Bishnoi amassed 404 runs including one century and two half centuries. It also saw him playing a crucial knock of 71 runs against Vidarbha, which helped Chandigarh qualify for the semi-finals.
“Getting a chance to play for Chandigarh in the BCCI U-23 One-Day tournament was a big opportunity for me to impress the selectors. Chandigarh U-23 coach Amit Uniyal shared his inputs with me and believed in my abilities as an all-rounder. The half-century against Manipur followed by the century against Sikkim boosted my confidence. The tournament was seeing the presence of 4-5 India U-23 cricketers and the knock of 71 against Vidarbha, a team which boasted of two India U-23 pacers, was a special knock in my career. It gave me a huge boost ahead of the Ranji trophy season,” said Bishnoi.
While the youngster did not bat in Chandigarh’s opening encounter of the Ranji trophy plate group, the season has seen him scoring centuries against Meghalaya and Nagaland before he scored his first half-century at his home ground Sector 16 Stadium against Sikkim early this month. The youngster credits his fine run to coach VRV Singh and skipper Manan Vohra apart from other senior players in the team.
“Even though I did not get the chance to bat in the opening match, coach VRV Singh told me that the team had high expectations from me and supported me a lot. In the last match against Sikkim, skipper Manan Vohra kept encouraging me and it was good to build a partnership with him. The Sikkim team had bowlers like Ishwar Pandey and Iqbal Adbullah and it was a challenge facing them. I would have wanted to score a century at my home ground but I am happy with the half-century. I hope to continue this run and help Chandigarh qualify for the knock-outs this season,” says Bishnoi.
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