Noida: India U-19 opener Manjot Kalra seems to have a boxer's demeanour. Aggressive inside the ring, cool and submissive off it. He might have flayed the Australian attack in the U-19 World Cup final, ripped them apart during his 101-run knock but you meet him in person and he has absolutely no airs about him. Usually, aggressive people like aggressive people. But Manjot shocks you the moment he opens his mouth softly to tell you that his favourite player or the cricketer he idolises is Virat Kohli. Reality check really. Proves appearances could be deceptive.
Like his batting, he was fluent in answering the rapid fire questions that were aimed at him at the Zee News office. Remembering his stint in New Zealand, Manjot said it was a learning curve for him, having adjusted well in foreign conditions. “Experience was very good. Before going, our preparation was really nice and the way we adjusted to the weather there, played practice games was really very exciting,” said Manjot.
It has been more than two weeks since India got their hands on the fourth U-19 World Cup, thanks to Manjot's century, India completely dominated the tournament. Though he had missed couple of times on a century, he wasted no time in giving due credit to their coach Rahul Dravid for his success. “He is a legend,” Manjot said, asked to describe Dravid in one word. It is totally understandable for someone who could instil confidence in Manjot to keep believing in his natural instinct and yet give him the mantra to help convert his scores to triple figures. Respect.
World Cup heroes, especially the ones who outperform everybody in the final, are remembered for a long long time. Manjot's time has just started. Back in Delhi, he is paying frequent visits to almost every media house in the capital. On Friday, cricket took a back step while Manjot was quizzed on his hobbies and likings. Sportsmen are highly conscious about what they eat. Picture Virat Kohli for instance. No wheat, rice for nearly three years. Manjot, on the other hand, does keep a tight check on what he consumes, but simply couldn't resist 'Paneer Rice'.
“For fitness, I love going to gym and do a lot of ground training. One thing I love eating is Paneer Rice,” he said.
With that, the talk involving and revolving around cricket was over. Literally! The next question was a clincher. Asked about who Manjot loves watching on the 70mm screen, the southpaw very shyly said, “Disha Patani,” he said. He nearly blushed telling the reporter that. But to ease the situation, the next query was for his favourite actor. Manjot puffed his chest and uttered “Hrithik Roshan”.
Manjot, who loves watching latest hindi flicks, said Hrithik's appearance appealed to him. “It is his acting and his personality,” he said.