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Exclusive Interview With Manan Vohra: Sehwag Touched My Head And Gave Me His Blessings On Playing Well

Punjab’s Manan Vohra is the perfect example when it comes to justifying this line…to accomplish great things one must not only act, but also dream, not only plan but also believe. He is someone who continues to excel with each passing day. He indeed is a generation next batsman with some great qualities that make him stand out. Humble, down to earth and friendly by nature, combined with good looks and the most pleasing personality, an extremely talented youngster, a stylish batsman and a fearless cricketer… is how I will describe him. He indeed is an attacking player and looks to take on all the bowlers. Hard work, discipline and patience makes an unbeatable combination to garner success and this is what Manan looks to do every single time, as he too dreams of playing for India.

The ‘M’ in his name always meant ‘Magical’. He looks to create magic with the bat, score umpteen number of runs and further give his hundred percent on the field. At such a young age Manan has played a lot of age group cricket, captained the Punjab under 19 team, played Ranji Trophy, IPL and later found a place in the India A squad. He made heads turn when he scored an impressive 67 runs in the 2014 IPL finals, playing against KKR. His great partnership with Wriddhiman Saha took Punjab to a mammoth 199 runs in 20 overs…from there onwards it was no looking back for him. CricFit.com author Binaisha M. Surti caught up with this ambitious cricketer and he spoke to her about his initial days of playing cricket, sharing the dressing room with the likes of Sehwag, Maxwell and Miller, his most cherished moment on field and lots more.

Every youngster in the country today, has grown up watching the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, SauravGanguly and Anil Kumble. Young Manan was no different. Though he was born and brought up in a sporting family as his grandfather was a former Indian hockey player… Vohra was inclined towards another game all together. He played the most loved sport of the country ‘cricket’. He started playing tennis ball cricket at the age of 7 in his back yard. His mother spotted that spark and talent in him and further took him to a cricket academy, where his skills could be polished and developed in the best possible way. He would train there for a few hours in the evening. He never planned to become a cricketer back then. He enjoyed playing and therefore went there for a couple of years. Slowly he started playing well and from there onwards he felt that it could be pursed as a profession.

During his formative years, he would see the sport on television. Vohra watched Sachin Tendulkar and later tried to emulate the way he played. When it comes to batting he has always admired Sachin. Ever since he held the bat for the first time, it has always been just cricket for him. By the time he was 11 he started taking cricket even more seriously and trained under Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj Singh.

We then discussed how playing at different levels helped mold him into a better cricketer. He termed these experiences as amazing as he never thought he would play so much of cricket. Manan captained Punjab in a few matches playing age group cricket, further went on to represent Punjab in Ranji Trophy, later played IPL and then India A. Just like every other young cricketer he would like to see himself represent the country someday. He considers himself very lucky to have got a lot of opportunities in the cricketing arena at such a young age. Having played with so many international cricketers in IPL, while on the other hand, he plays alongside some great’s such as Yuvraj and Harbhajan in team Punjab. So year after year he has picked up many things from them as they share their experiences and help out the younger generation. Gathering experience at every stage has helped him move forward.

Since every cricketer ideally would like to think one step ahead of their opponent we asked Manan as to how he looked to outsmart bowlers when it came to him batting in the middle. He added that as a cricketer one has to be at their best. Personally, he relies on his process and just looks to watch the ball minutely and then play his shots. He keeps his concentration intact and likes to initiate his innings. Talking about him being a sweet timer of the ball playing on its merit…he said that he developed the skill while practicing a lot.

Manan has quite a few good memories when it comes to memorable knocks on the field. During the 2014 IPL finals where Kings X1 Punjab faced Kolkata Knight Riders in the finals. The situation was different as his team had lost early wickets and it turned into a high-pressure game. It was there that he scored 67 runs. He kept calm and cool and went on to play a good knock with Saha. Further, he stated that he had played for India A in Australia…and the men in blue were facing South Africa. He came in at number 3, got 60 odd runs and started taking on the bowlers and thus the momentum shifted in India’s favor and they won the game.

Then we went onto discuss about the IPL and further were interested in knowing that had this big tournament brought him in the lime light. He quickly added that he started playing IPL 3 years back and it suits his game as it is the T20 format. It did give him exposure as people started taking note of him. Whoever performs in this tournament comes in to the limelight as one is playing with international stars. He is happy that he is a part of this set up as youngsters like him get a platform to showcase their talent.

Having shared the dressing room with the likes of Sehwag, Maxwell and David Miller was a big honour for him. They are already legends in the game. They taught him how to deal with failures in life. It is such a sport where one wins and losses, on the given day sometimes one performs well but on some others one does not. So they taught him that one must learn to enjoy it as it is just a game. He has discussed a lot of his cricket with Sehwagin particular who advised him on the technicalities of the sport. He also urged him to believe in himself.

Vohra always manages to stay cool and calm when dealing with pressure situations. He stated that he has been working on this aspect a lot. He has a yoga and meditation trainer who helps him. A tip he shared with us is that one should not think much and should have control over their breathing when under pressure. When one is calm they can think in a better fashion. On the other hand he enjoys taking on Dale Steyn in the shortest format. Facing him in the IPL, he has done well. It is really great to watch him take his run up he concluded.

On a happy note he recalled the best moment ever of his career…a beautiful one indeed. He was playing with Sehwag in Delhi and was scoring at a much higher strike rate than him. The great man was amazed and then came up to Manan, touched his head and gave him his blessings. The young lad has even treasured a picture of that moment. Sehwag backed him which was something great.

When not playing cricket, this youngster likes playing T.T and further spends time with his play station…he also loves spending quality time with his family. Manan signed off by sharing an extremely valuable advice for his fans. Keep working hard and believe in God. One should not worry about the result. What is meant to happen will happen at the right time. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen and keep faith.