Down to earth, aiming for the sky


Mohali: Seldom is it seen that a present-day Indian cricketer, who has already donned the national team jersey, is still staying in a rented apartment.

Punjab speedster Barinder Singh Sran is not at all concerned about those oohs and aahs of the life. The 24-year-old has played 6 ODIs and 2 T20s for India – yet he lives like a commoner in a rented apartment with his friends in Mohali.

The amount of money an Indian cricketer generates – especially with the advent of the IPL – these days is massive and a luxurious lifestyle is inevitable. However, the Sisra lad believes in simplicity and totally concentrates on his performance.

At present, Sran is focussing on his fitness and adapting to his new bowling style – which he has developed with former Punjab medium-pacer Amit Uniyal.

Sran, a total family man, opened up with TOI and revealed that he is looking for a plot in the Tricity, where he can build a house from the scratch.

“I miss my family at times and it is not easy to live on your own. I hope to build a good house here and bring my family. It’s ghar ka khana (homemade food) that I miss the most,” the reticent lad added.

Dealing with injuries

At the Punjab senior team camp on Sunday, Sran was seen bowling with hostility at the I S Bindra PCA Stadium. One could see the fire in his eyes and the burning desire to regain his place in the national team.

He was bowling in the nets with a heavily strapped ankle. Injuries have plagued Sran since the time he made his India debut in January 2016. Over the last year and a half, he has suffered injuries to his knee, ankle and foot.

“It is not at all easy to make a comeback after suffering so many injuries. The last year was difficult for me,” Sran reflects.

“I am bowling after a gap of two and a half months,” he quickly adds.

Sran will be leading the Punjab bowling attack in the All-India KSCA Captain K Thimmappiah Memorial Cricket Tournament in Mysore. Punjab will play its first league match against Kerala from July 22 to 25. Their second league match is against Mumbai from July 28 to 31, and the last is against Gujarat from August 3 to 6.

“We play so much cricket these days and there is limited gap between one series to the other. This heavy workload takes a toll on cricketers – especially fast bowlers,” Sran states, when asked why fast bowlers are breaking down so often these days.

On a comeback trail

Sran has targetted the upcoming domestic season and wants to leave his imprint there.

“I am taking one tournament at a time. I don’t want to rush. I will also play district-level cricket,” he says.

Although he is the leader of the Punjab attack, Sran feels consistency in performance is parmount.

“It is very difficult to fix your place in the Punjab side, as we have so many talented pacers. There is Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Shubek Gill. Consistency in performance is important and I think healthy competition pushes a player to perform even better.”

The dream Team India debut

Sran burst onto the scene after picking up six wickets against Railways in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season. That spell brought the spotlight on him. Yuvraj Singh, who was leading Punjab in that match, lauded Sran’s spell and even compared him to a young Zaheer Khan.

He soon got a call to the Indian one-day team and made his debut against Australia Down Under. The left-armer started superbly and in his first ODI at Perth returned with figures of 3/56 – albeit in a losing cause.

“It was a flat track and the Australians were in rampaging form. It was definitely a surreal experience for me,” Sran reminisces about his debut game.

MS Dhoni was his captain then; and, like many it was Dhoni’s calmness that appealed to Sran.

“Us bande me kuch khaas hai (He is special). I have never seen a person who is so calm and composed,” relates Sran.

New bowling action

During the IPL this year, Sran worked on his bowling action and has remodelled it a bit under the guidance of Zaheer Khan. Sran’s action was prone to injuries, as he hit the ground quite hard with his landing foot.

The new action has not only helped him avoid injuries, but he feels that his pace has also increased.

“I feel that my pace is increasing and I will breach the 140kmph mark this season,” he says.

Sran idolizes legendary Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram and Zaheer Khan. He divulged that during his road to recovery, he watched a lot of their (Akram and Khan’s) videos and learnt quite a lot from those.

The IPL has improved his bowling by leaps and bounds. The lanky pacer felt that IPL provides an opportunity to a youngster like him to improve his game by playing alongside international stars.

“Although I played a solitary game this season, but it was a great learning curve for me to share the dressing room with the likes of Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvneshwar Kumar,” Sran reflects.

“At present Bhuvi is the cleverest bowler in Sunrisers. His improvement has been quite significant. Now, he can deliver with the new ball as well as the old. His yorkers are extremely accurate. He is an inspiration for me,” he adds.Hungry for more Besides homemade food, Sran misses donning the national team jersey. He is determined to be a part of Men in Blue once again.

“Last year, I didn’t played many games due to a spate of injuries. Now, I am looking forward to play as many games as possible. I want to win games for Punjab with my bowling. And, I want to wear the blue jersey of the national team once again. I am striving for excellence.”

Source: Times Of India


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