Manjot Kalra's heroic century in final against Australia guided India to their fourth U19 World Cup triumph last month. Kalra showed nerves of steel to score an unbeaten 101 and ensure India doesn't lose another U-19 World Cup final.
India were chasing a small total of 217. Often in big encounters, the small target becomes a bit tricky sometimes. India had to make sure Aussies don't make a comeback after their poor show in the first innings.
19-year-old Kalra talked about the unforgettable match and said that India were expecting a total near 270, but a meager performance from Australia made things easy for them.
“The track was good but Australia threw their wickets away and were some runs short. We were, in fact, expecting a target of around 270-280 which is in itself a big total. The pressure was on us as a World Cup final is a big thing but we had a pretty solid batting line up and above that, all the batsmen were in good touch,” Kalra, who guided India to an 8-wicket win in final, said.
Kalra has been sold to Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 auction. He is excited to be a part of the franchise which consists of former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting as coach and former India captain Gautam Gambhir in the squad.
“First and foremost I will get a chance to interact with them (Ponting and Gambhir) which is a very big thing for me. I’m very excited,” said the left-hander during the sidelines of an event by General Nutrition Center. “I will take it (IPL selection) as an opportunity. If I get a chance to play, I will try to make it count as much as I can,” he added.
Cricketing world acknowledged Rahul Dravid's role in India's U-19 World Cup win. Talking about the coach, Kalra said that Dravid is someone who works more on a player’s mental strength than his skills. “It has been a good journey with Rahul Dravid. He is someone who won’t tell you much about your batting skills but instead will work on your mental strength,” he said.