COC Exclusive: Harpreet Brar’s interview with Ishan Mahal

Harpreet Brar played a key role in Punjab's maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy title win.

Harpreet Brar | BCCI-IPLLeft-arm spinner Harpreet Brar has become a prominent name with some memorable performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the last few years.

Brar was roped in by Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in the IPL 2019 auction for INR 20 lakh. He got only three opportunities in his first two years of association with the franchise but remained wicketless.

However, when the wickets came for him it came in heaps as Harpreet produced a Player-of-the-Match performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2021. He dismissed legendary names like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell in the same game to leave a lasting impression on the team management.

In the IPL 2022 mega-auction, Harpreet Brar was bought back by PBKS for a hefty sum of INR 3.80 crore. While the Punjab lad played only five games in the 2022 season, he got as many as 13 matches to prove his worth in this year’s IPL, claiming nine wickets with the figures of 4/30 against Delhi Capitals.

Harpreet then carried on his brilliant IPL performance to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2023-24 season. He picked up 15 wickets from 10 games at an average of 18.80 and an economy rate of 7.23 to help Punjab clinch their maiden SMAT title.

After his SMAT heroics, Harpreet Brar interacted with Ms. Ishan Yadav Mahal, Digital Head of Circle of Cricket, and opened up about his performance, his ambitions among other things.

Here’s the excerpt of the interview:

Q: You played a key role in Punjab’s first-ever Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy title win, finishing as the team’s second highest wicket-taker. How would you evaluate your performance?

A: “My performance was good. I made a good contribution in the team’s success. I am happy with my effort and performance. I have been playing T20 cricket for Punjab for the last five years. Until this year, I wasn’t able to take many wickets but managed to pick plenty of them this season. The wickets were challenging, it was good for batting. So, taking wickets on such pitches has boosted my confidence and the most special thing is that the team won the trophy.”

Q: Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is considered as one of the best domestic T20 competitions. Do you think this triumph will open the doors for more Punjab cricketers in the IPL?

A: “In Punjab’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy squad, all 15 players are part of the IPL franchises. It’s a great achievement because I don’t think there is any team that has all the players playing in the IPL. Even the two reserve players will be signed by some IPL franchise very soon because Punjab has been doing well in T20 cricket for some years now. We may have become champions this season but we have been playing dominant cricket in tournaments for several years. In the knockout-stage, the result doesn’t go your way sometimes and you fail to win the championship. But we have played all the games in a dominant fashion and I feel one should play with such attitude.”

Q: Who was your most cherished wicket from this year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy?

A: “All the wickets are good for me because taking wickets on flat pitches in T20 cricket is a big thing for any bowler. So, all the scalps are special for me and the most special bit is that we became champions. In India, the competition is way too high and to emerge as champions amid this competition feels special.”

Q: You have already played List A cricket, T20s including the IPL for Punjab Kings. Do you have the ambition to play red-ball cricket?

A: “I feel I will definitely get a chance in red-ball cricket. I am also sure that I will do well when the opportunity arrives. I have been warming the bench for the last 3-4 years but not getting an opportunity in red-ball cricket for Punjab. I hope that I will soon get a chance to prove my worth. I am confident of doing well and also playing Test cricket for India. I am aware of my calibre and trust my ability to do well when the time comes. I manifest such wishes and it happens with me as well.”

“Currently, we are in Mumbai to play the Vijay Hazare Trophy. I hope that Punjab team does well in this tournament and we go on to win this trophy as well. I pray that our Punjab boys go on to play for India and I too will play for the country. The boys have been working hard, their mindset is very good and all of them are dedicated towards the game. Fingers crossed that we will win the Vijay Hazare Trophy too.”

Q: Who is your cricketing idol?

A: "Bhajji Paaji (Harbhajan Singh) has been my idol while growing up."


By Salman Anjum - 24 Nov, 2023

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