Harjas Singh’s family moved from Chandigarh to Sydney in 2000, and the 19-year-old played all his cricket in Australia. However, as is the case with most migrants, life wasn’t easy for his parents.
They had to “sacrifice all their free time to ensure I [Harjas] got proper training. They spent hours and a lot of their savings to help shape my career,” Harjas told SBS Punjabi in a podcast.
Hence, when the Australian number four could gather only 49 runs in the first six games of the tournament, questions were being raised if he deserved such backing from the Australian management. However, he repaid that faith by being Australia’s highest run scorer against India in the final.
He started off in quite a nervous fashion, blocking delivery after delivery. In fact, he was 6(21)* when he finally hit his first boundary of the game. He ran down the ground and clobbered it straight over long-on.
That was easily the most confident shot he has played in the tournament so far. It opened the floodgates for him. In the next 43 balls that he stayed at the crease, he scored 49 runs. Most of those runs came against the spinners, as Harjas displayed his natural power down the ground with his slog sleeps.
Moreover, his 55 included three sixes and three fours, proving that his coach, Neil D’Costa, was quite right to show early faith in the youngster. “This boy is special. He is capable of playing Test cricket for Australia.” said the coach, who has also trained former and current Australian players like Michael Clarke, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Starc and Marnus Labuschagne.
Harjas also showed his strong resolve to stay at the crease along with his big hitting. Australia lost their third wicket for 99, just two overs after Harjas’ arrival at the crease. The out-of-form batter didn’t let the pressure get to him and shared a 66 runs partnership with Ryan Hicks. That had a big part to play in Australia teaching 253/7 at the end of their 50 overs.
The long levers and the natural power in his batting can be credited to his sporting genes, as both his parents were sportspersons back in India. While his father, Inderjit, was a state boxing champion in Punjab, his mother, Avinder Kaur, was a state-level long jumper.
Recently, Harjas also told the Indian Express about being impressed by Usman Khawaja and his exploits in the Australian colours.
“I don’t talk about cricket or watch it once I am out of the field. But in the past couple of years, I have been inspired by the journey of Usman Khawaja. He was dropped from the Test team but fought his way back and is currently one of the best Test batsmen in the world. Above all, he is also a southpaw.”
Today, Harjas batted with a temperament that would make even Khawaja proud. Moreover, just like Khawaja, he handled the spin bowlers quite well, scoring run-a-ball 42 against them. “I’d say spin is my strong point, yeah. Touring Sri Lanka for a week or so helped,” Harjas said at the end of the first innings.
He handled the middle part of the game for Australia and didn’t let the Indian spinners choke them in the middle overs like they have done to all their opponents in the tournament. With Oliver Peake’s 46, Australia now have a total they can be fairly confident of defending against India’s batting final.
Harjas Singh got out scoring 55 today, but each of those 55 runs showed that he’s a talent worth trusting and investing in.
Australia’s ‘complete’ pace attack shows a mirror to India’s rigid approach
Gaurav Nandan Tripathi
In Australia’s moment of glory - Khawaja dons the spotlight and how!
Bastab K Parida
Khawaja’s marathon knock; Ashwin surpasses Kumble
Green reaps rewards after Khawaja’s tough toil
Usman Khawaja shines yet again - this time the brightest
Bastab K Parida
Yet another day of missed opportunities for Australia
A Khawaja sense of security against Pakistan's trial by pace
Usman Khawaja and the ‘almost perfect’ homecoming
Khawaja's twin tons augment Australia's problem of plenty