Megh Raj Wadhera never skipped a match played by his grandson Nihal. With the big Wadira, he carries a notepad and pen to write a “ball by ball comment” for every ball Nihal has played. He has been doing this for fifteen years.

“It’s become a routine for my dad. He’s his biggest fan. He’ll take note of all the tiny details. His body language, his shots, his run between the wickets, how he gets out. He’s no expert but just admires his grandson. In the evenings, the twosome will sit and talk about the game. Kamal Wadhra said, Nihal’s father told the Indian Express from Ludhiana that both my father and son are obsessed with cricket.

Apart from cricket, 83-year-old Meg Raj scolds his grandson if he uses a curse word on the field. Megh Raj is an old man who believes cricket is still a ‘gentle game’.

“He hates when someone abuses someone on the cricket field. He has criticized Nihal many times. For him, cricket is about skill, not verbal diarrhea. He loves the game and gets really annoyed when someone uses curse words. Kamal said he was very strict.” With Nihal on that note and setting a rule for him “Don’t offend anyone, this is not your upbringing.”

In a video released by Mumbai Indians after their match against CSK, Nihal dedicated his 50th debut to his grandfather, who had come home from hospital a day before the match.

Nihal has been a consistent performer in age group cricket. He played at the U-16 and U-19 level with the Punjab national team. In the Cooch Behar Trophy in the 2017-18 season, he hit 540 runs and scored as many as six half-centuries, perhaps the main reason why he was among the favorites for the Under-19 World Cup, which India won under Prithvi Shaw. Captain.

IPL 2023: Nehal Wadhera Nihal with grandparents. (express photo)

He missed the bus. The rejection hit him hard and he told his father, “It’s not enough. I’ll do better.”

Later that year, he was selected for the India U-19s. During the tour to Sri Lanka in July 2018, he hit two half-centuries, including a fine of 82 on debut against the Lankans in a youth Test, which India won by an innings and 21 runs.

Despite his continued run at U-19 and U-23 for Punjab, he had to wait because Punjab’s top order had too many openers. So he lowered the order and finally got his chance and made sure he made it count.

A season to remember

Away from the IPL, Nihal’s appearances in this domestic season have been exceptional. After spending several seasons holding drinks, the southern paw finally had a chance, though not as an opener, his favorite spot. He batted at center and in his first match for the Ranji Trophy against Gujarat at Valsad, Patient made 123 off 255 balls as Punjab knocked Gujarat out on top of the green.

His best knock was against the defending champions Madhya Pradesh, where Punjab were reeling at 47 for 4 and batting at six, scoring two centuries (214) and scoring 269 runs for the fifth wicket with Anmoblrit Singh (124).

IPL performance

He showed a glimpse of his talent on his IPL debut, hitting 13 fastballs of 21 against RCB. After being in and out of the side, he finally cemented his place with consecutive fifties. One of them was in tough Chepauk against CSK, where MI was 14-for-3 in three overs. Nihal was promoted at 4, scoring his first IPL fifty. On Tuesday in Wankhede, veteran Suryakumar Yadav poked fun at RCB’s offense and scored his second 50th with a winning six.

AP23129623783614 Mumbai Indians bats during the Indian Premier League cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, May 9, 2023 (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Charanjit Bhanju, under whose leadership Nihal started playing the game for the past twelve years, evaluated CSK’s strike better under the circumstances.

“Everyone loves the winnings shot. He was very satisfied with his knock when he hit a six to win the match. But for pure cricket reason I would rate his batting against CSK highly. It was a hard pitch and the team was in trouble. After the match, he got a pat on the back from none other than MS.” Dhoni, who told him ‘acha khele’, said Bhangu.

Nihal had an interesting conversation with his coach after he decided to hit the middle order. He told Bhangu, “If I want to play for India, I have to be ready for any challenges. I can’t say that’s my favorite position and I can’t play in No. 6 or No. 7. I want to bat in the middle order now.”

Bhangu said he hasn’t modified his game much. “He was always good against speed and spin. He adapted quickly.”

Nihal, who was born a month before Yuvraj Singh made his international debut in Nairobi in 2000 and spent plenty of time watching the dapper Southpaw win India. Like many Indians, Nihal carries Yuvraj’s exploits at the 2011 World Cup etched in his memory.
“Mujhi Ludhiana Ka Yuvraj Ketta Hai (People call me Yuvraj Ludhiana)” Nihal said.

Nihal also modeled his game after his idol Yuvraj. The upright stance, the flowing cover drive, the powerful back-foot shots, the hand-eye coordination or overall flair – one can see the striking resemblance between him and Yuvraj.

“He got his nickname for his devastating hitting in little cricket. He likes to take the opposition attacking the cleaners. That’s his game,” he said.

Last year, Nihal came into the limelight when his Ludhiana bowler smashed 578 against Bathinda U-23 in the semi-finals of the Punjab State Inter-Provincial Championship at the GRD Cricket Ground in Ludhiana. Nihal smashed 42 fours and 37 sixes during his stay at the crease.

This blow again came after he was not picked up by Rajasthan Royals after being called up for trial. But the left-hander said his time with the Nagpur royals and time spent with coach Kumar Sangakkara helped improve his cricket.

“In the Rajasthan Royals camp, Sir Sangakkara encouraged me a lot. He motivated me and told me my game was good. He was having a good time with me,” Wadira said.

Nihal comes from Ludhiana and is only the third cricketer from the city to play for India at any level. Prior to him, the late Yashpal Sharma, who was a member of the 1983 World Cup winning Indian team, and Jagandeep Singh played for the Indian senior team.

Coach Bhangu is hoping to be the third from the manufacturing hub of Punjab to represent India.


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