Af­ter Un­der-19 Asia Cup ex­ploits, Harsh Tyagi dreams to spin red ball

The Sunday Guardian - - Sports - ANITA NEW DELHI

With an elder brother in the house, Harsh Tyagi never re­ally got a chance to try tricks with bat. When Harsh was born, his brother was happy as he had found his per­ma­nent bowler in his younger sib­ling. The Un­der-19 Asia Cup win­ning team might be thank­ing Harsh’s brother to­day. With his left-arm ortho­dox spin, Harsh scalped 14 wick­ets in four games, in­clud­ing six in the fi­nal match, con­tribut­ing large in In­dia’s Asia Cup tri­umph in Bangladesh.

On his re­turn to In­dia, he re­ceived an over­whelm­ing wel­come. His par­ents were wait­ing with a bou­quet at the air­port, and a posse of jour­nal­ists at his alma mater – Noida’s Bil­l­abong High School. Harsh says he is en­joy­ing the me­dia at­ten- tion. “Kam kiya hai to itna to banta hai (it is worth the hard work I have put in).”

Like ev­ery other child, he started play­ing cricket just for fun, but grad­u­ally dis­cov­ered his un­equiv­o­cal love for the game. Rec­ol­lect­ing his ini­tial crick­et­ing days, Harsh says In­dia had won the 2011 World Cup and the cricket hype then fur­ther flared his in­ter­est in the sport.

To hone his skills in the game, his mother, a teacher at his school, asked him to join the Noida Wan­der­ers Club on the school premises and at the age of 12, Harsh started play­ing pro­fes­sional cricket un­der the men­tor­ship of coach Phoolc­hand Sharma.

“When sir felt that I have some tal­ent, he made me play in matches. He has helped me a lot tech­ni­cally as well as men­tally,” Harsh says, adding, “He is my first and last coach by far.”

Ap­pre­ci­at­ing Harsh, his fa­ther says, “He has re­ally been very con­sis­tent through­out. I do not even re­mem­ber the names of the tour­na­ment but he has taken wick­ets in all of them.” How­ever, he is also aware of the strong com­pe­ti­tion his son will be fac­ing to get into the In­dian na­tional team. “See the to­tal num­ber of In­dian Test play­ers so far. They are un­der 300. And then peo­ple say get­ting into the IITs is the tough­est.”

Though his fa­ther is quite aware of the sce­nario, he never den­i­grated Harsh’s spir­its. “Risk is ev­ery­where. In Olympics, see how many play­ers are com­pet­ing for a sin­gle gold,” he ex­claims.

Harsh says it’s his dream to be a part of the Test team but he is not think­ing too far at this time and wants to fo­cus only on his up­com­ing sea­son. He has his Ranji Tro­phy camp start­ing from 15 Oc­to­ber and the first match of Rail­ways be­gins from 1 Novem­ber.

He also wants to break into the IPL but has no par­tic­u­lar team choice as such. “Jo khila le vahi favourite,” says Harsh laugh­ingly.

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