When I first saw his smiling photograph, I was puzzled for a moment, as this 23 year old batsman from Punjab – Jiwanjot Singh Chouhan – resembles Harbhajan Singh a lot. Today, he has scored 105 runs off just 169 balls in a Ranji Trophy match against Delhi at Roshanara club – and he is still unbeaten. He has hit 15 boundaries so far. His excellent performance is especially important, keeping in view of the fact that unfortunately Yuvraj Singh could just manage four runs.
But who is Jiwanjot Singh? He is an upcoming cricketer who can solve India’s batting woes in the future. Before we move forward, let me elaborate that he is the fifth Indian and (14th all timer) to have scored a double century (213) on first class debut. He had spread this magic in the 2012 Ranji Trophy match, while opening for Punjab.
After a double century on debut, in his second Ranji match against Bengal, Jiwanjot had scored 158 runs. This is what I term as consistency. He plays for Punjab in the domestic circuit and also for India A. Interestingly, his father was also a university level cricketer in Punjab and he has played a major role in the development of Jiwanjot Singh.
This right handed batsman from Patiala, Punjab was born on 06-11-1990. The best part is that he plays with a straight bat. Since he is an opener, this is vital – because when one plays with a straight bat, the chances of lofting the ball become remote. Just like any other young cricketer, he idolizes Sachin Tendulkar
And among the openers he likes Gautam Gambhir. He started playing cricket at the age of 11, but was still selected to play for the under-15 team of Punjab. I believe that he has got a natural style of playing flawlessly with a straight bat. He does not believe in creating hype a n rather prefers to keep a low profile.
He has got a very impressive batting average of 51.61 in the 21 first class matches he has played so far. What fascinates me is the fact that this 23 year old lad has already scored 6 centuries and four half centuries. The initial symptoms appear to be bright.
This might appear to be too early to say anything, but the point I intend to highlight here is that BCCI will have to evolve some kind of mechanism to safeguard the interest of players like Jiwanjot Singh. He is already 23-years old and in case he is not properly nourished right now, the chances are that he will either confine himself to events like IPL or his zeal to perform on the international level will be hurt. In any case, the onus of identifying the talent lies with the BCCI. There is immense talent in India, but it needs to be groomed.