Home > Indian U19 World Cup 2022 star Raj Bawa

Indian U19 World Cup 2022 star Raj Bawa

by Navyatha Sandiri
Raj Bawa

Raj Bawa was just another happy-go-lucky youngster who sailed through school and loved to groove to Bhangra tunes till he was thirteen years old. Back in the day, when the hill station of Dharamsala was hosting an international cricket match, DAV Chandigarh cricket coach Sukhwinder Singh Bawa decided to accompany his adolescent son to see the game.

Something changed in Raj, and Sukhwinder, as a father, couldn’t help but observe that his son’s attention went from quick ‘footsteps’ to deft ‘footwork.’ As a result, despite being at the junior level, an all-rounder performance on the international stage was achieved.

“He began playing (cricket) when he was 11 or 12 years old; prior to that, he was uninterested.” “On the television, he liked to listen to and dance to Punjabi songs,” father Sukhwinder said. “He went on tour with me to Dharamshala and witnessed a number of exciting matches.” He began sitting with me in team meetings after that, and his interest in cricket grew from there. From his Chandigarh home, Sukhwinder told news agency PTI that he began playing seriously after that.

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The son was ripping the heart out of the top-order of the ‘Three Lions,’ and the father was soaking up all the attention. Raj’s five wickets in the final belonged not only to him but also to Sukhwinder, who was living his dream through his son.

The son was ripping the heart out of the top-order of the ‘Three Lions,’ and the father was soaking up all the attention. Raj’s five wickets in the final belonged not only to him but also to Sukhwinder, who was living his dream through his son.

Sukhwinder was not even born when his father, Tarlochan Singh Bawa, won independent India’s first Olympic hockey gold in London during the 1948 Games, alongside Balbir Singh Senior, Leslie Claudius, and Keshav Dutt. Sukhwinder’s coach was ecstatic when Raj decided to prioritize cricket over his family.

“He was the top student in his class. He was second in class even in ninth grade,” Sukhwinder noted.

Then he began accompanying his father to the Academy, where he assisted in the development of hundreds of players, including Yuvraj Singh, who went on to become an illustrious figure in international cricket.

Raj would watch his favorite Yuvi Paaji train with his father every day as a child and eventually viewing turned to imitation as Raj gained a new role model. “Yuvraj Singh was trained by my father. When I was a kid, I used to watch him. While batting, I used to imitate Yuvraj Singh. I saw some of his hitting practice vids. Raj, who wears the same number as Yuvraj, described him as his role model.

Yuvraj had such an impact on Raj as a child that the natural right-hander couldn’t comprehend not batting left-handed because his idol was a southpaw. The first hero of a child leaves an indelible impression on the child. Raj used to see Yuvraj, who used to come to the academy for his nets when he was a kid,” the father explained. “So, when Raj picked up the bat, he did so with his left hand, but he used his right hand for everything else — bowling, throwing, and so on.” I tried to reprimand him, but when I turned back, he was still holding the bat in his left hand. So I just let it go.”

Raj Bawa

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While he began out as a batsman and made the Punjab U-16 squad, it wasn’t until he reached the sub-junior state team that his father realized Raj had the makings of a strong fast bowler. “At initially, because I was also a fast-bowling all-rounder, he was more drawn to bowling.” I did, however, wish to achieve a balance. So, when he started bowling, I stopped him. I concentrated more on his batting and helped him become a better batter. I wanted him to perform admirably in stressful situations. I didn’t want him to be a batsman as well as a bowler. I wanted him to bat like Yuvraj Singh and bowl-like Kapil Dev.

“I wanted him to be a 50-50 all-around player.” It was critical to making him bat for this reason. I gave him the ball when he was named to Punjab’s U-16 team. Sukhwinder added, “I had watched him bowl as a toddler and I was convinced that he could bowl better than anyone else.”

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