BS Sandhu takes five-for, matches senior Sandhu's debut effort

Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr) claims 5-66 to match former India seamer Sandhu's effort on debut at Wankhede in 1980

Mumbai's Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr) bowls on Day One of the Ranji Trophy match against Punjab. Pic/Atul Kamble. Inset: Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Sr)

Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr) has more to boast of now than just sharing the name of the India cricketer, who was instrumental in India's first ever World Cup win 28 years ago. Sandhu (Jr), who claimed five wickets on his first-class debut against Punjab in Mumbai's last Ranji Trophy league game yesterday, matched the senior Sandhu's feat of taking as many wickets on his first-class debut. Incidentally, both feats were achieved at the Wankhede Stadium.

Sandhu (Jr) is also a right-arm swing bowler and took 5-66 in 26.2 overs to put Mumbai on top. His teammate Kshemal Waingankar claimed three wickets to help Mumbai restrict Punjab to 226. Bipul Sharma was top-scorer for the visitors with 68. In reply, Mumbai were 22 for no loss at the end of the first day.

Senior Sandhu, who mentored Sandhu (Jr) for a brief period during his formative years at the Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers ground in Chembur, was all praise for the 24-year-old lad. "I am very happy for him. He is hardworking and his efforts over the years are paying off now. It is a good sign for Mumbai cricket that youngsters are performing," Sandhu told MiD DAY yesterday.

Aggression needed...
The 1983 World Cup-winning member, however, wants Sandhu (Jr) to be more aggressive in his bowling. "He seemed to be a bit low on self belief earlier. I am sure his confidence will be boosted after this performance. I want to see him bowl more aggressively.

He is a very talented guy," added Sandhu, who had taken 5 for 59 to rip Gujarat apart in the first innings and came back to take 4 for 35 in the second essay way back in 1980. Bombay (as it was called then) won by an innings and 40 runs. Sandhu (Jr) was a touch embarrassed when he was informed about similarities with his one-time mentor.

"It is nice to know that our performances match. But please, don't compare me to him. He is a great cricketer and I am just developing. I never dreamt of taking five wickets on debut. I was waiting for this opportunity after bowling in the nets all this while. I am just thrilled now," he concluded.

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