With one catch on Friday night, 23-year-old Harleen Deol has become the toast of the nation. The cricketer, in a stunning attempt on the boundary, saved a certain six and then leaped over the rope to complete the catch to dismiss England’s Amy Jones. But this raod to fame hasn’t come easy to Harleen.
Charanjit Kaur Deol, Harleen’s mother, remembered all injuries that her daughter had to go through to rise to this level. “Harleen started playing cricket at the age of seven and I still remember her coming home from the Yadvindra Public School ground after bowling with a broken finger within months of her starting her career. Once while playing for Himachal Pradesh in Gujarat, she bowled despite an injured finger. To see her take such a sensational catch without worrying about the fall and getting praise from players like Sachin Tendulkar, V V S Laxman and Nasser Hussain apart from leaders and fans is the biggest reward for Harleen’s hard work,” said Deol’s mother Charanjeet Kaur while talking to The Indian Express.
Harleen has been a star player in junior cricket and went on to represent U-19 inter-school match at the age of eight. By 2010, she was part of Punjab U-19 team. Then after shifting her base to Himachal, she joined the HPCA U-19 academy in 2012. Academy’s coach Pawan Sen remembers the hardwork Harleen had put in. “Like any young cricketer, Harleen had her fears of diving and sliding to stop the ball. We trained the HPCA Academy trainees to slide on wet pitch covers to end the fear of sliding and diving on the ground. It helped her. Along with her bowling and batting. She has evolved to be a very good fielder and to earn praise from the cricketing world shows her hard work,” said 51-year-old Sen.
HPCA strength and conditioning coach Veena Pandey said, “She has been passionate about fitness and her Yo Yo test score would always be above 15 when she trained at the academy. It has improved further and it is heartening to watch,” Pandey said.