Indian batsman Shubman Gill’s journey from obscurity to stardom that saw him move to Mohali with his family, from a small village setting, has inspired many. Now, talented youngster Balraj Singh finds himself chasing a similar dream.
The fast-rising Balraj has already made a name for himself in the junior cricket circles for his on-field skills.
Aged 16, Balraj impressed all and sundry with his batting prowess at the Vijay Merchant Trophy for the U-16. He posted 485 runs in five games — including a standout knock of 176 runs against Haryana — as an opener and helped the Chandigarh side win two games and draw three. In fact, the Union Territory Cricket Association (UCTA) team fared well in just the U-16 category.
Spotting his undeniable talent, the young cricketer has been included in the National Cricket Academy U-16 camp to be held from April 17 to May 11 in Bengaluru.
Much like in Shubman’s case, Balraj’s father Kulwinder, who is also an agriculturist, moved to Panchkula from Bugga Kalan, Fatehgarh Sahib, wanting his son to train hard in the pursuit of his dream of representing India one day — and emulate Balraj’s hero Yuvraj Singh.
“I had a full life back in the village. But I could not pursue my dream of becoming a full-time sports person and knew if I wanted my son to take up cricket, I needed to be in the tricity for the best coaching and training facilities,” Kulwinder, who was a volleyball player represented Punjab and Punjabi University, in his career, said.
Balraj grew up watching his hero Yuvraj Singh do well for India. The clipping of them hitting the six sixes in one over at the T20 World Cup in South Africa are still imprinted in his memory.
“Last season, the BCCI did not conduct the Vijay Merchant Trophy amid the pandemic. I was really disappointed to lose out on that chance as I had prepared hard. So, I gave it my all this season. Now I will be training for U-19 tournaments in the upcoming season,” Balraj, who is a Class 10 student of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, and trains at the DAV-10 Cricket Academy.
“I met Yuvraj Singh and was amazed by how humble he was. He gave me several tips for my batting. I am inspired by his success story and how he battled cancer,” Balraj, who plays left-handed just like his hero Yuvraj, said.
Besides Balraj, UTCA’s Yuvraj and Ehit Salaria have also been selected for the NCA U-16 camp.
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