U-19 player Raj Bawa bought by Punjab Kings for Rs 2 cr at IPL auction

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Chandigarh boy all-rounder Raj Angad Bawa has been bought by IPL franchise Punjab Kings at the mega auction in Bengaluru on Sunday. PBKS secured Raj for Rs 2 crore following a three-way battle also involving Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Sport runs in Raj’s family with the 19-year-old’s grandfather Tarlochan Singh Bawa rubbing shoulders alongside the likes of Balbir Singh Senior, Leslie Claudius and Keshav Dutts to win independent India’s maiden Olympic hockey gold in London during the 1948 Games. Raj’s father Sukhwinder Singh Bawa is DAV Chandigarh’s cricket coach.

Raj hit the headlines when he rewrote the record books by breaking Shikhar Dhawan’s record for the highest individual score by an Indian at a U19 World Cup.

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A Covid-hit India U19 team faced Uganda in a group match and Raj belted an unbeaten 162 off 108 deliveries. He thus bettered the previous record of Dhawan who had scored 155 against Kenya at the 2004 U19 World Cup.

And in the final, he took 5/31 in 9.5 overs to run through a strong England batting line-up whom India bowled out for 189 in 44.5 overs. Raj also contributed with the bat and scored a vital 35 off 54 as his team chased down the target in 47.4 overs to win a record-extending fifth U19 WC title.

“He started playing (cricket) when he was 11 or 12 years old before that he wasn’t interested in it. He liked to listen and dance to Punjabi songs on the television,” his father Sukhwinder told news agency in an interview.

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“He went on tour with me to Dharamshala and saw a lot of intense matches being played out. After that, he started sitting with me in team meetings and his interest in cricket arose from there. After that, he started playing seriously,” he added.

However, before being bitten by the cricket bug, Raj was a studious kid.  “He was a topper in his school. Even in class ninth, he came second in school,” Sukhwinder said.