Harbhajan Singh | Punjab Cricket Association started open trials for fast bowlers on the advice of Harbhajan Singh

New Delhi: On the advice of former India spinner Harbhajan Singh, the Punjab Cricket Association conducted trials in rural areas of the state in which more than 1000 players participated to create a ‘pool of fast bowlers’. attended. Many of these are bowlers who had never used a ‘leather ball’ before this trial. The PCA has selected 93 bowlers from the trials held from June 10 to 21 in different regions of the state. Also read Rajya Sabha MP Harbhajan has been advising the PCA to regain its lost prestige. He wants the state unit to make proper use of the funds it gets from the BCCI (Cricket Board of India). Harbhajan, who is currently on a family holiday, said, “I don’t think most states have done this before. Instead of restricting it to an age-group, we conducted an open trial. I wanted PCA to find new talent in fast bowling. He said, “Punjab has players of strong stature and I am not ready to believe that we do not have fast bowlers with the pace of Umran Malik or Kuldeep Sen. Our thinking is to help him become a better bowler. We have already identified around 90 players in the age group of 16 to 24. The Punjab state team over the years has had medium pacers like Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Baltej Dhanda. His bowling speed ranges from 125 kmph to 135 kmph. Since the departure of VRV Singh, Punjab have not found such fast bowlers who can consistently bowl at 140 to 145 kmph. The PCA, headed by Secretary Dilsher Khanna, has appointed former national selector Harvinder Singh as well as former Indian pacers Manpreet Singh Gony and Gagandeep Singh to scout for talent under short and long-term plans. The PCA advertised in local newspapers and cable channels inviting only players who had never played competitive cricket for trials. Former Test fast bowler Harvinder, who is leading the project, said, “Had to travel across Punjab to find talent. It was a great experience to visit places like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Barnala, Muktsar Sahib. He said, “We found a player six feet eight inches tall in Amritsar. We were stunned to see him. He came from a remote village. He is about 19 years old. To be honest, we need to improve his action but we are excited to have found such a talent.” He said, “We were focusing on the stature, action and pace of the bowlers rather than line-length. We were surprised that some of the boys in the village, who have been playing cricket with only tennis balls till now, have a lot of speed.” When Harvinder was asked how many of these 93 bowlers are ready to play board-level cricket, he said, “We will organize a 15-day camp in Mohali.” About 50 of these bowlers will be selected and placed in three groups. My experience says that some of these bowlers are such that after playing 15 to 20 matches, they will be ready for the BCCI Under-19 National Championship. Harbhajan said that the PCA will help him become a better bowler by taking care of his accommodation and all other expenses during the next one year. The former spinner said, “BCCI gives enough money to the state units and I am of the view that it should be invested on the cricketers and that is what I have told the PCA. I am hopeful that the glory days of Punjab cricket will come back and we have the potential to give some of the best bowlers to Indian cricket.” (agency)

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