ICC U-19 World Cup final: Raj Angad keeping family’s legacy alive | Cricket News

Tarlochan Bawa’s proudest moment came when he stood on the podium at the 1948 London Olympics after his goal played a crucial part in India’s gold-winning game against Great Britain. 74 years later, his grandson Raj Angad Bawa tormented England with a five-wicket haul in a U-19 World Cup final in Antigua on Saturday. He claimed 5/31 in nine overs to break the spine of the English team and set up the game for India U-19s.
Tarlochan passed away when Raj Angad was too young to retain the memories of the time spent with his grandfather. His parents ensured that the legacy of Tarlochan was etched in Raj’s mind.
“My wife and I would always tell the stories my father told me about his playing days. One of the anecdotes that has stayed with Raj is the one of my father standing on that podium. My father told me that he felt the stitches of his blazer would give way because he felt his chest grow wider with pride. To have gone to a country which ruled us till a year ago and defeated them in the final was a hair-raising moment. Raj Angad was mesmerised and has been inspired by that story,” Sukhwinder, Raj’s father, told TOI on Saturday as his son was in the middle of an incisive spell.
“We hung my father’s gold medal on the door of his room so that it would be the first thing he saw in the morning. The medal would keep inspiring him,” added Sukhwinder who was himself selected for India’s U-19 team in 1988.
Sukhwinder’s career was cut short due to injuries and he became a coach at a young age. He has trained Yuvraj Singh for a while too. Raj’s cricket journey started when he accompanied his dad to Dharamshala for inter-district tournaments. “He was hardly 11 at that time. He was intrigued by the dressing room talks. Those matches used to be very close ones. Seeing that, he decided to become a cricketer,” Sukhwinder said.
Having a father who understands the nuances of the sport helped Raj plan his path. He used to rank in the top three in his class in school. As his cricket assignments grew in number, academics took a backseat. But completed his Senior Secondary in arts with over 60 per cent marks.
“I am a coach of the Sports Authority of India (SAI). I always trained him. It didn’t matter much when I was shifted from Gurgaon to Chandigarh. He used to bowl fast at an early age but I wanted him to concentrate on his batting. I allowed him to bowl off-spin. When he started scoring heavily at the age of 16, he got back to bowling fast,” the proud father said.
“I am aware of the load it takes to bowl fast and bat too. I ensured his body didn’t get tired at an early age. He bowls at 130 km/hr now. Once he comes back, he needs to work on increasing his pace so that he is ready for First Class cricket,” Sukhwinder added.
A mammoth hundred and a five-wicket haul in the U-19 World Cup is likely to draw huge bids for him in the IPL auction next week. But Sukhwinder claims Raj understands the Bawa legacy. “He knows playing for India is the ultimate goal. His grandfather won’t have it any other way. Anything that comes along the way — IPL or Ranji Trophy — is just a stepping stone,” Sukhwinder asserted before going back to his TV set.

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