Punjab Kings' win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday was a huge result in the context of the ongoing season. While Virat Kohli-led RCB will now know for sure that they are not unbeatable, having faced defeat twice in their last three matches, the game on Friday also announced the arrival of a relatively lesser known star from Punjab, Harpreet Brar. It was a night of dreams for the southpaw who not only scored an unbeaten 25 off 17 balls but returned with figures of 3/19 to seal the game for PBKS and give them the assurance that their campaign is not over yet.
Claimed wickets of RCB's Big 3
While one could say 3/19 was just a good performance, Brar's three victims were Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers — the big three from RCB — which made it all the more special. Having dismissed them in his spell of four overs, there was very little chance of another result than a Punjab win and that's exactly what happened. Many might believe that this performance was a fluke and came out of nowhere but a closer look at Brar's domestic career presents a different story.
Brar was born in the Moga district of Punjab on September 15, 1995 and started out as a batsman. However, he eventually took a liking to spin bowling and started working on his craft. In no time, the left-arm spinner went on to become a consistent performer in the state's inter-district competition. In 2014, representing Ropar, Brar picked 10 wickets in an innings in an under 19 match against Hoshiarpur, returning with a remarkable 15 wickets in the match.
It is worth highlighting that in that inter-state competition, Brar, who was the skipper of Ropar, finished with 41 wickets in five matches. Earlier too, he had been producing superb performances one after the other, for instance he had picked 9 wickets in an innings in an under 22 match against Nawanshahr in 2012, but the road wasn't that easy for him.
Almost gave up on cricket
After consistently being ignored for the state team and failing to bag an IPL contract, Brar was pretty close to giving up on cricket. Notably, Brar's father is a driver in the state police while his mother is a housewife. After not being able to impress the senior state team's selectors and IPL franchises, the player was left with two career choices- either to join the Police force like his father or move to Canada on study visa. Senior Punjab cricketer and India capped Gurkeerat Singh Mann later helped Brar get a place in the Mohali district team from where his selection was fast-tracked into the state senior side.
"I had decided that if I fail to break into the Punjab senior team or get an IPL contract this year, I will move to my sister in Canada for good. Paaji, bahut frustration tha (It was extremely frustrating, brother)," Brar was quoted as saying in a Times of India report in 2019.
Luckily, the player was picked by PBKS in 2019 for INR 20 lakh.
Journey in IPL until Friday
Despite a consistent run in age-group cricket, Harpreet hasn't been a regular member in the Punjab state team, leave aside the Indian Premier League. Prior to Friday's game, he had featured in 3 matches- 2 in the 2019 edition and 1 in 2020. So if Virat & Co. tried to target Brar, one can't really mistake them for their choice, from the little they had known of him. However, for Brar it was a culmination of hard work, persistence and never say die attitude that the world witnessed at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.