Tuesday, March 28Welcome

Punjab’s Abhishek Sharma ready to accept leadership role with help from Lala, Dravid and Yuvraj

Abhishek Sharma seems fidgety at first impression. As we speak, he constantly tosses the bottle from one hand to the other for several minutes, the water inside clicking every time the bottle moves from side to side. His eyes also keep wandering, and there are non-stop hand gestures while he speaks.

However, as the conversation deepens, he realizes that Abhishek’s mind is as clear as water in a bottle. Soon he will talk about his goals. One of them is for him to win the Punjabi title. His Abhishek, 22, will lead Punjab in the next domestic season, starting with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s on October 11th.

“Obviously, the ultimate goal is to play in India,” Abhishek said on a Zoom call.

Abhishek’s conversion from bowler to all-rounder was when his father, Raj Kumar Sharma, realized his son’s multi-faceted abilities.

“He was also a Punjab cricketer,” says Abhishek. Also, through his father’s influence, he began acting as a left arm spinner “when I was probably his five or his six.”

“But slowly, I must have been eight or nine when he realized I could bat too. I started batting,” he says. “It was my father who recognized my talent.”

Being a lower-intermediate batsman in domestic cricket is tough. You’re not always on the selection radar, you rarely score big, and your failures tend to be amplified even more. Abhishek is currently the starting pitcher for Punjab.

In his second first-class match for the domestic team, he was batting alongside Yuvraj Singh. Prior to that, Abhishek had scored his fluent 94 in his debut match against Pradesh Himachal, earning accolades from his idol. Although he could hardly speak at the time, the two have developed a wonderful relationship ever since. We hold camps and betting sessions in an unofficial capacity.

“Uvi paasi “Looking at the way I’ve developed myself, I realize that his tips have really helped me. [playing] Short balls, strength throughout and strength helped me a lot. ”

And like Yuvraj, Abhishek wants to have an equal impact on the ball. A finger spinner on the left hand, Sunrisers has a clever backspinning his leg cutter which he has used time and time again in his IPL in Hyderabad but it seems to expand his repertoire I didn’t stop trying to.

“I think you have to work hard at bowling if you want to play all three formats, so I’ve been working on variations,” he says. And it worked really well. Those were the factors I wanted to develop.”

Time away from competition has helped him develop a training routine. During this off-season he was not part of the India A side that played against New Zealand A, and Duleep was not selected for the Trophy and Irani. I was. off spinner.

“Two years ago, Mohammad Nabi taught me a certain ball, like a swing ball. I understood it, but I couldn’t throw the ball like him.” Abhishek says.

“So I tried [bowling] i think i’m doing well. We are currently working on 3 or 4 variations for the new ball, which I think will be very helpful. ”

Batting and bowling aside, captaincy means Abhishek’s plate is full. But he accepts responsibility and wants to build on his early initiations. Punjab is a strong team filled with his players on the fringe of the IPL. The team seems to have moved on from the days of Yuvraj and Harbhajan Singh with plenty of experience in the form of Mandeep Singh, Gurkirat Singh Man and Jiwanjot Singh.

Abhishek led Punjab at the age group level and also captained the India U-19s heading into the 2018 World Cup. Is it any different to lead a senior Punjabi side?”No, because I’ve been playing with some players in his Punjabi side since the U-16 era,” he says. “But even top-level teams have seniors. That’s your challenge: how to treat them and create that atmosphere. Captaincy has made me a more mature hitter and leader.”

Abhishek’s interaction with legends is not unique to Yuvraj. When he was part of India’s U-19 World Cup winning side four years ago, he trained under current India head coach Rahul his Dravid. Last December, Bryan took the opportunity to pick Lara’s brains after he became the Sunrisers’ strategic advisor and his batting coach.

“Rahul sir always told me to believe in myself,” recalls Abhishek. “He never asked me to change anything about my batting. He always wanted me to bat to the end. I’m one of those positive people.”

“He was calling all the hitters for one-on-one meetings. He asked me, ‘What do the successful starters of the last two years have in common? All of them are good players,” but he actually wanted me to hit 30-35 pitches every inning. So that’s what stuck in my mind. When someone like Sir Lara trusts you, you gain that trust.

On a daily basis, Abhishek has a close circle of trusted friends and elders who provide information.

“One is Shubmann [Gill], and another is former players Sharad Lumba and Gurkeerat Mann,” he says. We talk about cricket all the time and when a match is on we text each other to discuss how someone is batting. ”

Abhishek is a feisty 16-year-old entering his fifth season as a domestic cricketer. He’s at a stage where he’s ready to make a big leap. His close associates from the U-19 era – Prithvisho, Shubman Gir and Ashdeep Singh – all represent his team senior. However, Abhishek found the transition a bit difficult. Especially since I didn’t get enough chances to make an impression for a long time.

After 13 first-class matches, Abhishek averages just 29 and has a best of 98. His List A numbers are slowly increasing, if not quite there. The average after 30 innings is almost 31. He’s looking forward to pushing them this season, but he already has bigger goals on his mind.So how does he see himself in five years’ time? Huh?

“It’s only natural to host the World Cup for your country!”

The clarity is there and Abhishek wants to increase that number. Winning the title could start the next chapter of his young career.

Himanshu Agrawal is Associate Editor of ESPNcricinfo.

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