With an elder brother in the house, Harsh Tyagi never really got a chance to try tricks with bat. When Harsh was born, his brother was happy as he had found his permanent bowler in his younger sibling. The Under-19 Asia Cup winning team might be thanking Harsh’s brother today. With his left-arm orthodox spin, Harsh scalped 14 wickets in four games, including six in the final match, contributing large in India’s Asia Cup triumph in Bangladesh.

On his return to India, he received an overwhelming welcome. His parents were waiting with a bouquet at the airport, and a posse of journalists at his alma mater – Noida’s Billabong High School. Harsh says he is enjoying the media attention. “Kam kiya hai to itna to banta hai (it is worth the hard work I have put in).”

Like every other child, he started playing cricket just for fun, but gradually discovered his unequivocal love for the game. Recollecting his initial cricketing days, Harsh says India had won the 2011 World Cup and the cricket hype then further flared his interest in the sport.

To hone his skills in the game, his mother, a teacher at his school, asked him to join the Noida Wanderers Club on the school premises and at the age of 12, Harsh started playing professional cricket under the mentorship of coach Phoolchand Sharma.

“When sir felt that I have some talent, he made me play in matches. He has helped me a lot technically as well as mentally,” Harsh says, adding, “He is my first and last coach by far.”

Appreciating Harsh, his father says, “He has really been very consistent throughout. I do not even remember the names of the tournament but he has taken wickets in all of them.” However, he is also aware of the strong competition his son will be facing to get into the Indian national team. “See the total number of Indian Test players so far. They are under 300. And then people say getting into the IITs is the toughest.”

Though his father is quite aware of the scenario, he never denigrated Harsh’s spirits. “Risk is everywhere. In Olympics, see how many players are competing for a single gold,” he exclaims.

Harsh says it’s his dream to be a part of the Test team but he is not thinking too far at this time and wants to focus only on his upcoming season. He has his Ranji Trophy camp starting from 15 October and the first match of Railways begins from 1 November.

He also wants to break into the IPL but has no particular team choice as such. “Jo khila le vahi favourite,” says Harsh laughingly.

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