Every evening Sukhwinder Singh Bawa patiently waits for a call from his son. Taking into account the nine and a half hour time difference between Guyana and India, Sukhwinder makes sure not to go to bed without talking to Raj Angad Bawa, who is currently in the Caribbean with the Indian team for the U-19 World Cup .
Since he reached the West Indies a fortnight ago, Raj Angad has made it a point to talk to his father, who is also his coach, about all things cricket. And in every conversation, Sukhwinder – who was the coach of former India international Yuvraj Singh – told his son to ‘play his natural game’ and be confident.
And on Saturday, Dad’s advice worked well for Raj Angad, as he scored an unbeaten 162 from 108 deliveries with 14 fours and eight sixs against Uganda and broke Shikhar Dhawan’s record for highest score by an Indian in the tournament.
Raj Angad Bawa with his father Sukhwinder Bawa (right) and Yuvraj Singh. – SPECIAL PACKAGE
In the 2004 edition of the tournament, Dhawan scored 155 not-out against Bangladesh. The 19-year-old from Chandigarh reached the milestone in the 49th over of the Indian innings after decimating the bowlers to collect his first youth ODI ton.
“I just told him to enjoy his game. I told him that”cricket enjoy kar tere me woh hai‘… (enjoy your cricket, you’ve got it in you) The idea was to make sure he’s not under pressure and that he can help his team when needed. He had that confidence and that helped,” Sukhwinder said sports star.
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While the Bawa family watched proceedings at their home in Chandigarh, Raj Angad was not even aware that he had broken Dhawan’s 18-year record. “I knew nothing about it until I got back off the ground and saw it on Instagram,” said Raj Angad.
With a few members of the team out of action due to COVID-19, Raj Angad was promoted in the order and batted at No. 4, Bawa stamped his class as he not only hit a fascinating ton, but also stitched a 206-run stand with the other centurion Angrkrish Raghuvanshi. “Since I got promoted in batting order, my goal has been to contribute as much as possible. And I played with that mentality,” Raj Angad added.
Raj Angad, a fast bowling all-rounder, has had a memorable campaign thus far. After taking four wickets against South Africa in the first match, he scored 42 against Ireland.
“All this time he didn’t get a chance to improve the order. Now that he’s made the most of the opportunity, he will have more confidence and that will help him and the team move forward,” said Sukhwinder, an experienced coach on the domestic circuit.
“He is young and the more he plays, he will get better. He has the potential and has to have confidence in himself. Before the tournament there was nothing special that we were working on. We just brushed up a few things and that helps him Sukhwinder added.
Coming from an illustrious sports family – his grandfather Tarlochan Bawa was a member of the Indian hockey team, which won gold in the 1948 Olympics – Raj Angad has had success in the international sports arena to date.