IPL V Village lad Parvinder Awana made good as a paceman for Kings XI Punjab this season. ARUN VENUGOPAL
While the Indian Premier League (IPL) has often been censured — not always unfairly — for the ‘crass commercialisation’ of cricket, its positive role in providing a platform to hitherto unheralded youngsters can’t be brushed aside.
The Swapnil Asnodkars, Yusuf Pathans, Ravindra Jadejas, and Rahul Sharmas have all benefited at various stages from the experience and exposure. In this year’s IPL, Parvinder Awana of Kings XI Punjab has shot into limelight with impressive performances. Not that he was selected out of nowhere: Awana was the leading wicket-taker for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy with 28 scalps. For the 25-year-old speedster, cricket wasn’t in the radar for the most part of his early life. “I hail from a village called Harola near Noida. My family was engaged in agriculture and so cricket was a hobby initially. My father passed away in 1999; two years after we moved to Noida.”
He took to the game seriously only when he was 17. “I used to bowl fast in my village and as I grew taller I became better. I also used to bat well. My older brother encouraged me a lot. I took part in the selection trials at the National Stadium and soon I was training in a full-fledged cricket academy.”
Cricket over policing
He was also close to making the cut in the Police force but his family advised him to concentrate on cricket.” It was my uncle who persuaded me not to give up playing cricket.” In 2004, Awana won the ESPN Mahindra Scorpio Speedster contest and was sent to Australia. “I was selected as the fastest bowler in the competition and I got to train under Damien Fleming. It was a priceless experience that helped me evolve as a bowler.” Awana acknowledges the contribution of his coach M.P. Singh. “He has helped me immensely. When I started out, I didn’t even know what spiked shoes were. He taught me the basics and honed my technique.”
Kings XI experience
He has relished being part of an IPL franchise. “It has been a wonderful experience. The foreign players in our side like Adam Gilchrist and David Hussey handle us really well. Be it making a technical suggestion or setting an example for fitness, they are always in the forefront,” says Awana, who has bagged nine wickets from seven games at an average of 25.55 (after the match against Rajasthan).
Who are his favourite Indian cricketers? “Viru bhai (Virender Sehwag), Gauti bhai (Gautam Gambhir), and Dhoni bhai (M.S. Dhoni). They have all offered tremendous encouragement.” Awana concludes by saying that his strength lay in “bowling fast and I want to stick to it.”
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