Australia's Harjas Singh is ready
Australia's Harjas Singh is ready

Australia’s Harjas Singh is ready |Inspired by Usman Khawaja

An opener with Chandigarh roots hopes to salvage a disappointing campaign with a significant upset in the semifinals.

Harjas Singh, the opening player for Australia, has just twice reached double figures throughout this U-19 World Cup. Although he has only scored 45 runs in six innings, he is confident in his ability to take on Pakistan’s highly anticipated pace attack, which includes Ali Mirza, Mohammad Zeeshan, and Ubaid Shah, in Thursday’s second semifinal. The winner of that match will play India, the reigning champions, for the championship.

“I scored against England (Youth Test) a few innings ago. I don’t think my batting approach needs to be altered in any way,” Harjas says from Benoni to The Indian Express.

Although I played cricket in Australia growing up, we were accustomed to playing on bounce-filled fields from an early age, so Pakistan does have a strong bowling assault. The left-hander declares, “I am a big unit and can pack some punch as well.”

It’s interesting to note that Harjas has little interest in watching cricket matches or rooting for famous players, yet he is really impressed with Usman Khawaja’s recent success.

After I leave the field, I don’t watch or talk about cricket. However, over the last few years, Usman Khawaja’s journey has motivated me. Having been dropped from the Test team, he battled his way back to become one of the world’s top Test batters. He is a southpaw above all else, he adds.

In 2000, the Harjas family relocated from Chandigarh to Sydney. When he was eight years old, the child began playing cricket in the neighborhood Revesby Workers Cricket Club.

“I still have relatives in Amritsar and Chandigarh. The last time I visited our home in Sector 44-D was in 2015. After that, cricket took over, so I was never given the chance. There, my uncle still resides,” the adolescent declares.

A helping hand

Neil D’Costa, who has coached players like Michael Clarke, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Starc, and Marnus Labuschagne, took him under his wing after being impressed by his ability to spend time at the crease.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been working out with him. He has helped me stay grounded and has shown me the value of making time for the crease. Regardless of how well or poorly a performance goes, he is never too quick to criticize or too sluggish to provide praise. I owe him a lot, along with my parents,” Harjas says.

D’Costa, who believes Harjas is well ahead of his age group, had also praised Harjas’ abilities.

“There’s something unique about this boy. An Australian local media quoted him as saying, “He can play Test cricket for Australia.”

Harjas, a Fairfield resident and student at Westfield Sports High School, is born with athletic prowess. His mother Avinder Kaur was a state-level long jumper, while his father Inderjit Singh was a Punjab state boxing champion.

My parents gave up all of their leisure time to make sure I received the right instruction. Their line of work is transportation. My career was shaped by their hours of dedication and substantial finances, he says.

With the exception of batting, Harjas is a right-hander in practically every situation. The tale of how he turned left-handed is fascinating.

“I was in danger of breaking the nearby glass windows on the leg-side when I was a little child batting right-handed in the backyard,” he recalls.

I decided to switch to left-handed batting to help avert such possible emergency. I’ve stayed with it, too! I do, however, toss right-handed and bowl right-arm medium pacers.

Harjas talked about how his identity forced him to work more harder than others in the business in a podcast on SBS Punjabi last year.

He had stated on the show, “If you look different from others, you have to do something different and much more to maintain that identity and your place in the field.”

The Challenge of Pakistan’s Pace Battery

Facing Pakistan’s pace battery is no small feat, especially in sub-continental conditions. Known for producing express pacers, Pakistan poses a unique challenge to batsmen. However, Harjas Singh remains undeterred, drawing strength from his idol, Usman Khawaja, who has faced and conquered similar challenges at the highest level. Harjas is determined to rise to the occasion and make his mark against Pakistan’s formidable bowling attack.

The Power of Mentorship and Dedication

Harjas Singh’s journey from being inspired by Usman Khawaja to donning the Australian colors in the U-19 World Cup is a testament to the power of mentorship and dedication. Harjas embodies the spirit of youthful exuberance and unwavering determination as he prepares to face Pakistan’s pace battery. The U-19 World Cup promises to be a stage where dreams take flight, and with Usman Khawaja as his guiding light, Harjas Singh is ready to shine on cricket’s grandest youth platform.

Conclusion

Harjas Singh’s rise as a young cricketer, fueled by his admiration for Usman Khawaja, is a testament to his talent and determination. As he prepares to face Pakistan’s pace battery in the U-19 World Cup, Harjas is focused on making a significant impact on the world stage. With meticulous preparation, a positive mindset, and the support of his teammates, he is ready to take on the challenge head-on. The cricketing world eagerly awaits the clash between Harjas Singh and Pakistan’s formidable bowling attack, a battle that promises to be a thrilling spectacle of skill, determination, and the true spirit of the game.