U-19 star joins his father’s favorite IPL team almost 2 years after losing it to Covid


When Chennai Super Kings spat Rs 1.5 crore for Rajvardhan Hangargekar, the U-19 World Cup winner’s thoughts were with his father who succumbed to Covid in 2020. Chennai Super Kings was his father’s favorite team , and his captain MS Dhoni his favorite cricketer.

Following the IPL auction on Sunday, it seemed too much of a dream to be true for the son. “My dad loved CSK and followed them with passion. I wish he was alive to see this day,” Hangargekar said. The Indian Express. “Wherever he is, he will definitely be happier than all of us. I really have no words,” he said, choked with emotion.

Seamer Raj Angad Bawa, man of the match in the Under-19 World Cup final, has been snapped up by the Punjab Kings for Rs 2 crore. And he can’t wait to meet South African speedster Kagiso Rabada, one of his heroes. “I can’t wait to choose his mastermind,” he said.

Bawa’s father Sukhwinder can’t help but gush at the thought of his son interacting with Punjab head coach Anil Kumble. “He will learn a lot from Kumble. It will be a good learning phase for him overall,” he said.

U-19 World Cup team skipper and epee beater Yash Dhull is said to be sharing the dressing room with Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw after the Delhi Capitals bought him for Rs 50 lakh.

For the players, it’s not just the auction bonanza – to go with Rs 40 lakh announced by BCCI for each player in the World Cup winning squad – that excites them, but also the prospect of play alongside some of their heroes, and those of their parents.

“More than money, for me playing is important. These things will come as long as I perform well. So my only focus will be to do well in my cricket,” Hangarekar said.

After their dominating conquest in the West Indies, the U-19 World Cup squad was expected to attract the attention of IPL franchises. There would have been more players in the squad had it not been for the IPL eligibility standard that only those with domestic cricket experience or who had turned 19 before the auction could enter.

As for the three who have done so, they are aware of being at the foot of their careers. Asked about playing under Dhoni, Hangargekar said: “I will seek his advice, and there is a lot to learn from him.”

Bawa’s father, a cricketer coach, knows his son may not get lucky right away, but wants him to make the most of the opportunity to share space with some of cricketers’ best of the world.

“Sharing the dressing room with the likes of Rabada, Mayank Agarwal and Liam Livingstone will be huge. It will be a good learning curve for him, but I’m an old school coach who thinks there’s no substitute. to first-class cricket. My only advice to Raj is to stay in shape, give your 100 per cent on the pitch, whether it’s batting, bowling or bowling, and stay in the present,” Sukhwinder said. .

The coaches hope the IPL will ease their wards’ transition to top-class cricket. Dhull’s coach Pradeep Kochar said: “He has to stay in the present. Keep playing, he shouldn’t get distracted by this fame and stay humble. I gave him many examples of so many promising U-19 cricketers who failed to cope with the pressure at senior level.

Kochar said: “From now on it is a mental game. No coach can improve his skills. His priority should be on the mental aspects of his game; only then can he survive.

Hangargekar coach Mohan Jadhav wants his ward to keep an eye on Dhoni. “Playing in the IPL is a dream for any cricketer. My only advice to Rajvardhan is to watch and learn from Dhoni. I know that if given a chance he will also show his talent. There will be nerves, but he’s mentally very strong. I’ve seen him grow as a person since he lost his father to Covid in June 2020.”


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