Chandigarh cricket is known for two great guru-shishya tales. The first of those famous pairs were coach Desh Prem Azad and Kapil Dev. Then, Kapil’s fellow fast bowler Yograj Singh groomed his son Yuvraj to become an ODI great. Yograj, however, could well be on his way to grooming yet another cricketer-for-the-future now in Manan Vohra.
The 20 year-old opener, who perhaps surprised himself when he was retained by the Kings XI Punjab before this season started, has undergone a rollercoaster ride to say the very least. He was made to wait nine games before getting his chance in this season, proving almost instantly that he could play. In just five matches so far, he has scored 47, 42, 36, 25 and 47.
His fifty count may be zero so far, but Vohra has shown great presence when facing the big names in international cricket, including Dale Steyn. Also, he has looked equally comfortable pushing forward or when playing off the backfoot. Such has been his presence in the side that his opening partner, Virender Sehwag, is said to have told the youngster: “Wah! Yaar Manan, mujhe bhi ek-do shot maarne do.”
This is just the kind of atmosphere that a young talent thrives in. “Between overs, in the heat of the game, he in fact walked up to me singing a song! I couldn’t believe it,” Vohra told this semicolumnist. Sehwag, however, is not the only one to have taken Vohra under his wing.
At KXIP, the Aussie contingent of Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, George Bailey and Mitchell Johnson have all put in a kind word or two, helping him learn the ropes in terms of match preparation. In turn, Vohra has observed their on-field tenacity like a hawk. Maxwell is said to have told the opener that he has the game for international cricket, but the temperament still needs to improve.
Temperament and perhaps also his uncanny knack of picking up injuries.
Quite like Yuvraj, Vohra shone at the age-group level. But an injury just before the Under-19 World Cup was a big setback. While Vohra cursed his luck then, it didn’t get any better as a spread of breakdowns hampered his 2013 IPL season as well. But fitter and happier in a conducive KXIP environment this time around, Vohra seems to be well on his way to taking the big step up.
Shalini is a principal correspondent, based in Chandigarh.
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