For U-19 World Cup star Sandeep, ‘sky is the limit’
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Much before the batting pair of skipper Unmukt Chand Smit Patel hit the winning runs and gave India the U-19 World Cup, the narrow lanes of Anandnagar in Patiala were bursting with celebrations. And amidst all, the young fast bowler Sandeep Sharma's friends and family were distributing sweets among all those dancing to the beats of a dhol.
Sandeep, who picked up the highest wickets for any Indian (12), was also the star of the final against Australia in Townsville near Brisbane on Sunday, picking up four crucial wickets to scythe through the heart of Aussie batting. And it wasn't just in the finals, right through the WC, the Punjab pair of Sandeep and Kamal Passi provided the much-needed impetus to the Indian bowling.
Immediately after the win, Sandeep dialled his coach Munish Bali from Australia. Bali, who has been training Sandeep since he was 13, told Chandigarh Newsline: "It was nice to see Sandy do well for India in such a prestigious tournament. When he called, he was beaming with joy. Before leaving for the WC, he had told me that his dream would be fulfilled if India could win the championship. I think he has evolved as a cricketer in the last two years. With the kind of exposure and grooming he has got in the recent past, I can only say that sky is the limit for him."
Not many know that Sandeep, when 13, started out as a batsman for his school, Multi-Purpose School in Patiala. During a net practice session coach Bali saw his bowling talent and persuaded him to take to quick bowling. Sandeep, who idolises James Anderson, is capable of moving the ball both ways.
Sharing his thoughts about Sandeep, Bali said, "Sandy is a thinking bowler. The way he has incorporated useful changes in his bowling shows his calibre and will to learn. I am sure in the time to come, not only will he be a star for the Punjab senior team but also will soon secure a place in the national team."
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