Harleen Deol’s leap in the air to pluck a blinder of catch in the first T20I against England was a monumental occasion for the Punjab-born girl as the world recognised her feat calling it one of the best catches to have ever taken in the game of cricket.
However, for her mother Charanjeet Kaur, it was a moment of reckoning and an opportunity to reflect back on the struggles and injuries Harleen had to deal with in the initial phase of her career.
In an interview with The Indian Express, her mother explained that Harleen has shown a big heart to pull out miraculous things from her early days only and she has had gone as far as playing with injured fingers in her domestic career. She said that the fact that great players and voices of the game such as Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Nasser Hussain commenced Harleen is nothing but rewards for her hunger and immense hard work.
“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 to The Indian Express.
Her coach at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Academy, Pawan Sen has fresh memories of Harleen’s fearless approach while doing fielding practices and recalled the unusual fielding drills the all-rounder did in her early career that is coming to help her at the international level.
“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.
Harleen Deol was picked up for India Women for her batting and bowling and with that catch, she has established herself as one of the potent fielders for the women in blue.