Cricketer Yuvraj Chaudhary (right) with his coach Amit Uniyal in Chandigarh. Jasbir Malhi
THREE YEARS ago when a young Yuvraj Chaudhary shifted from Roorkee in Uttarakhand to Chandigarh, it was only for the love for cricket. The youngster joined the Gursagar Cricket Academy near Sukhna Lake under former Punjab cricketer Amit Uniyal and the 15-year-old showed his class in Chandigarh’s winning campaign in the Punjab Inter-District U-16 Tournament for ML Markan Trophy where he scored 270 runs and claimed 37 wickets to help Chandigarh win the title. The Chandigarh U-16 skipper is now playing for Chandigarh in the Punjab Inter-District U-19 Tournament for Dhruv Pandove trophy.
“I was captaining Chandigarh side for the first time and to score more than 250 runs and pick 37 wickets was something I was aiming for. The century against Amritsar earlier in the league stage gave me confidence and the 74-run knock in the final meant that Chandigarh scored a total of more than 250 against Mohali. To win the ML Markan Trophy final at IS Bindra PCA Stadium is the biggest moment of my career,” said Chaudhary, whose father Parmesh Chaudhary is a famer at Roorkee.
During his first year in Chandigarh, Chaudhary scored 250 runs and took 26 wickets with his left-arm spin for the Punjab U-14 team. His best knock of 120 runs came against Delhi, a match which also saw him take five wickets. Last year, Chaudhary was troubled by back pain and the all-rounder could only take six wickets and score 120 runs in the ML Markan Trophy. This year saw Chaudhary stamping his authority in Chandigarh’s first match against Gurdaspur as he claimed a total of nine wickets, including a seven-wicket haul.
In the semi-final, Chaudhary claimed 10 wickets against Patiala. The youngster is now aiming for a fine run at the U-19 level to stake his claim for the Punjab U-19 side. “Amit sir had helped me in my bowling too. Whenever I faced any difficulty, he would assist me in batting and bowling. Last year I was troubled by back pain but when I made it to the Chandigarh U-16 team this year, I was determined to do well. Playing in the U-19 category has given me a chance to compete against players more experienced than me. This will also help my game,” said Chaudhary.
Coach Amit Uniyal believes that the youngster can represent India at the U-19 level and for the 2018 U-19 World Cup or 2022 edition. “His strength is that he is a complete package player. He can bat well and bowl a good line. Such players are successful in any format of the game. He adapts quickly to the conditions as well as to changes in technique. He can represent India in the U-19 World Cup in future. When Indian team players like Barinder Singh Sran visit the academy, he is eager to spend time with them and ask them for tips,” said Uniyal.