U19 World Cup: Uday Saharan – New captain cool and overcome old inhibitions

During the Under-19 Challenger tournament last year, India captain Uday Saharan was not scoring runs and father Sanjeev was getting worried as the national selection committee was about to pick the team for the Junior Asia Cup.

“My mental state was not good because Uday was not scoring runs, but he used to tell me, 'Papa, don't worry, the runs will come.' That's Uday for you. I'm not saying this because he's my son, but at 19 he can still be clean.

Let us tell you, Uday plays national level cricket from Punjab but he is from Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan.

“During matches, he travels from Sri Ganganagar to Bathinda which is a two-hour train journey. He is studying B.Com second year from Bathinda University. A friend of mine had suggested that Uday be transferred to Fazilka in Punjab for cricket,” the father said.

Fazilka is also the village of Shubman Gill.

With one hundred and three fifties in six World Cup games so far, Punjab batsman Uday is currently the leading run-scorer in this edition, and his batting style resembles the top-order batsmen of the 1980s and 90s.

He scores runs at a strike rate in the early 70s, something he will need to address at the senior level. For now, it is serving the purpose.

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“Uday tells me, Papa, when it becomes a matter of single and double, then what is the need to hit the wheel? Chhakka marna hoga toh bhi maar lunga (Why should I try to hit sixes when I can make do with one and two. When needed, I will hit sixes too),'' said Sanjeev, an Ayurvedic doctor and BCCI level There are 1 recognized coaches.

For him, technique is sacred and he gave insight into how Uday learned to play copybook, traditional cricket.

“During my playing days, I represented my district in the Colwyn Shield, the biggest tournament of Rajasthan CA. I was known as 'Gavaskar' in my local circuit because the bowlers could not penetrate my defence.

“I have taught Uday the value of technology. And as far as the IPL game goes, when he was 16, he scored 108 off 60 balls in a local district match, hitting a six off Arshdeep Singh,” the father said.

When Uday was in a tense situation on Tuesday night, what was the mood in the Saharan family.

“What should I say? Uday's sister, my elder daughter did not come out of the temple house. She started crying. It was my wife's niece's wedding but she also remained sitting in the temple the entire match. We worship Pallu Devi Maa very much (My elder daughter and wife kept praying all the time and did not go out of the home temple. My wife did not attend a relative's marriage ceremony).” So how does it feel when she finds herself “I don't have words to express that feeling. It's special. I have seen his leadership qualities ever since he was young. When I used to take him to the academy, “If someone taught him drill, he would go ahead and teach other trainees. He has always been a responsible boy.” What advice would he give his son before the final? “Nothing, just get the cup.”

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