Who is Manjot Kalra?
Manjot Kalra is an Indian professional cricket player, who played for the under-19 Indian team in the 2018 ‘ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.’ Manjot played an important knock in the final match of the tournament to help the Indian team lift the ‘Under-19 World Cup’ for the record fourth time. As he performed consistently well in the world cup, Manjot was picked up at the 2018 IPL auction by the ‘Delhi Daredevils.’ The left-handed batsman was paid Rs 20 lakh (base price) by the ‘Delhi Daredevils.’ Manjot Kalra had earlier captained the under-14 cricket team of Delhi. Manjot then played for the under-16 team and became the only player from Delhi to be selected for the under-19 Indian team. After his inclusion in the under-19 team, he was trained by the Indian batting legend Rahul Dravid.
Childhood & Early Life
Manjot Kalra was born on January 15, 1999, in Delhi. He was raised by his parents, Naveen Kumar, and Ranjit Kaur. Manjot has an elder brother named Hitesh Kalra, who played an important role in shaping his younger brother’s cricketing career.
Manjot attended ‘Lancer's Convent School’ in Delhi and was later enrolled at ‘Bal Bharati Public School.’ Academically, Manjot was a good student, but was never interested in sports.
He started playing cricket only because of his brother Hitesh. Manjot would accompany his brother to the cricket field and then eventually started playing along with him. Since he performed well in a couple of local tournaments, Manjot was selected for the under-14 Delhi cricket team.
Manjot started performing well for the under-14 team and was hence made the captain of the team. However, even after scoring a century as the team’s captain, Manjot was not convinced of making a career out of cricket and continued to focus on his studies.
He was then selected for the under-16 team and he once again started performing well for his team. It was around this time that Manjot took cricket seriously and started thinking about turning his cricketing skills into his profession.
When Manjot finished his schooling, he had to choose between cricket and college. He chose cricket as he was at the top of his game while representing the under-16 Delhi team. Also, he started training under the famous Delhi coach Sanjay Bhardwaj and was eventually selected to play for the under-19 Indian team.
After being selected for the under-19 Indian team, Manjot started focusing solely on cricket. According to his ex-coach Bhardwaj, Manjot would practice for nearly seven hours a day. By now, Manjot Kalra was determined to make a career out of cricket and hence wanted to put up a good show for the under-19 Indian team.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Unlike originally planned by him, Manjot could not start off his under-19 campaign in grand style. In November 2017, his team lost to Nepal in a match, which was part of the ‘Asia Cup.’ Manjot’s individual performance too, was bad as he scored 35 runs off 69 balls with a substandard strike rate of just over 50.
Manjot had taken the field in Malaysia, despite being aware of the fact that his father was undergoing a heart surgery back home in India. After having a disappointing ‘Asia Cup,’ Manjot scored a blistering knock of 172 in the under-19 ‘Cooch Behar Trophy.’
His innings of 172 and a couple of other match-winning knocks guaranteed him a place in the under-19 world cup squad. Manjot left to New Zealand, where the world cup was held, and started playing in the popular tournament.
Though he scored an impressive 86 against Australia in the opening match of the world cup, he had a slack in performance in the next three games. After three consecutive failures, Manjot was dropped from the team for the league match against Papua New Guinea.
Manjot played the all-important semi-final match and managed to score 47 important runs. Following his gritty knock of 47 against the arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-final, Manjot was put into the spotlight by various journals.
His popularity increased when he scored a match-winning 101 not out against Australia in the final game. Manjot was congratulated by many for the way he took the game away from his opponent. He was also picked up by ‘Delhi Daredevils’ in the IPL auction, which was held in January 2018.
In 2015, former cricket player Kirti Azad filed a police complaint against Manjot, accusing him of cheating. According to the documents submitted by Manjot, his date of birth was mentioned as January 15, 1999, but Azad claimed that Manjot had produced fake documents and that his actual date of birth is January 15, 1998.
The ‘Delhi and District Cricket Association’ (DDCA) and ‘Board of Control for Cricket in India’ (BCCI) stepped in and asked Manjot to undergo several age-verification tests. After the tests, it was proved that Manjot’s actual date of birth is January 15, 1999. The confirmation also meant that he could represent India in the under-19 world cup, which would change his life forever.
Manjot is close to his parents. When his career was mired in controversies, it was his parents who supported and guided him. Manjot is a good friend of his under-19 teammate Shiva Singh.
Though Manjot is from Delhi, his favorite IPL team is ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore.’ Not surprisingly, his favorite cricketer is Virat Kohli and he considers him as his inspiration. Manjot follows Kohli religiously and hopes to emulate him in the near future.