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Women's Cricket

India debutant Amanjot recalls carpenter dad's sacrifices and coach's tough calls

"Hope I get picked," the debutant said on registering for Women's IPL.

India debutant Amanjot recalls carpenter dads sacrifices and coachs tough calls

Amanjot Kaur receiving her debut cap from Smriti Mandhana. (Source: Female Cricket/Twitter)



Updated: 20 Jan 2023 11:22 AM GMT

The unbeaten 41-run knock in her India debut was "unreal" for debutant Amanjot Kaur as the young Punjab all-rounder recalled the sacrifices of her father Bhupinder Singh and coach Nagesh Gupta.

A carpenter-cum-contractor, Singh who had enrolled Amanjot into a cricket academy as her 'passing interest', had to quit half of his work to ensure that his daughter's training does not get hampered. Gupta, who honed Amanjot's batting skills, made some tough calls and made her switch back to star-studded Punjab and leave her captaincy job in Chandigarh, a gamble that paid off as she was picked for the Indian team.

"It's such an unreal feeling. Never ever I thought of getting the player-of-the-match award on my debut. I never expected it," Amanjot said after guiding India to a tense 27-run win over South Africa in the Women's T20 Tri-series opener here on Friday.

"My dad played a big role in my career. Initially, he thought it was just a passing phase and my interest in cricket will gradually wane. He never thought I would play for India. I was bent upon proving myself in cricket," she recalled.

It was then when Singh stopped taking outstation contracts and worked only near his home at Mohali so that he gets time to accompany Amanjot to her academy. "His (dad's) struggle is much bigger than mine, he left half of his work for me so that I don't miss out on my academy, dropping in the morning and evening. He quit half of his work and stayed near our home," Amanjot said.

"The travelling time would take up almost 3-4 hours in a day but he managed that. If he didn't do that, I would not have been here today," she said about the struggle days in 2016-17. Moving on to 'Nagesh Sir' (Gupta) has been career-defining for her.

Dedicating her debut performance to her coach, Amanjot said, "All my success is through Nagesh Sir (Gupta) only. He played a big role, I started as a bowler and to now be counted as a batting all-rounder is a big achievement for me." Amanjot started her career from Punjab, then shifted to Chandigarh where her career took a "turning point".

It was then she had to take a bold step to return to Punjab in search of bigger glories. "It was a big decision as I wanted to play more competitive cricket, under seniors like Taniya (Bhatia), and know the competition, the playing styles that's there at the top-level. It's been a difficult journey, hope to keep going further," she said.

India camp hit by allergies

Amanjot was not the first-choice pick for the opening game, but illness to skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, along with some of the key players in Renuka Singh and Shikha Pandey, forced a change.

Asked about their illness, Amanjot said they were down with "allergies". "The place where we are staying is a forest area, surrounded by beaches. We are not immune, so they have developed some allergies like fever, cough, weakness etc."

WIPL calling: 'Hope I get picked'

Having shone in her debut match, Amanjot may grab all the eyeballs in the inaugural Women's IPL player auction slated next month. Amanjot has also made a smart move and didn't register herself before making India debut.

"I didn't register as I was not sure of the category. Now I can surely fill up the form (in the capped list). Hopefully, I will be picked by a side. I just wanted to play more and more matches and contribute for my sides," she signed off on a humble note.

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