He didn’t have the perfect start to the ACC Emerging Trophy, but when it came to the business end, Manprit Juneja showed he has it in him to perform in a crunch match.
After scores of 11 and nine in the first two matches, he scored 76 against the UAE, before hitting an unbeaten 51 in the final on Sunday. Manprit believes spending some time with the legendary Vivian Richards has helped him excel.
Though the Caribbean Master Blaster was nowhere near him in Singapore, Manprit said that it was during IPL-6 that Richards an adviser for Delhi Daredevils taught him the importance of a swagger.
“Richards sir spent a lot of time with me and one of the most important things he taught me was the need to look confident in the middle. He had said that sometimes even when you are not really in form, you need to fake it and act confident in order to put the bowlers and the opposition team on the backfoot. And when the Pakistan players were sledging me in the middle, the idea to look confident worked wonders,” Manprit told Mail Today.
He admitted that getting some runs against UAE helped matters.
“I am glad that I did well when it mattered most. Actually, scoring runs against UAE helped and since I had already shared a partnership with (KL) Rahul in that match, it was easy going in the middle. We set small targets and didn’t look at the score we were chasing. Also, we made sure that we prevented each other from playing rash shot,” he revealed.
Manprit wants to be part of numerous other age-group tournaments as he feels that they prepare players for the international level.
“When one plays for India at the U- 23 level or at other age levels, one is actually competing with the future international players of other countries. That gives a fair idea as to where one stands and also helps improve one’s game. So I would love to be a part of many more such tournaments,” he signed off.