Indian Premier League 7: Manan Vohra, Kings XI Punjab's 'gamble' man

Little-known Manan Vohra was preferred over several big names as Kings XI Punjab chose to retain him for IPL 7. The 20-year-old, though surprised, says his recent domestic performance did the trick.

Updated: January 11, 2014 15:11 IST
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Stars are born in the Indian Premier League. It is rare however for some to steal limelight even before the cricketing action begins. Manan Vohra is one such rarity.

The 20-year-old Punjab player was one of two - other being big-hitting South African David Miller, to be retained by Kings XI Punjab for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League. Picked to play for the side last year after being bought for USD 100,000, Vohra's performance was ordinary at best - 161 from 12 matches at an average of 20.12. The right-hander though was always considered a future-find - one that has now set Kings XI back by a whopping Rs 9.5 crore. Vohra is clearly, but pleasantly as well, surprised. "I just got the news, so excited. Obviously, it's a good feeling because I never thought I would be retained," he told a cricket website on Friday.

While Vohra may not be a well-known face in IPL circuits, his recent 187 against Jharkhand in Ranji Trophy showcased the enormous potential he has. Vohra feels the knock could have tilted the balance in his favour with Kings XI putting their trust, and money, in him. "I was the highest scorer for the Under-25s, and got 187 against Jharkhand and they noticed it."

The journey, although still in its nascent stage, has not been easy. While he has a century and two fifties in six first-class matches, Vohra's fight has been as much off the field as it has been on the pitch. He missed the U-19 World Cup due to a fractured hand, which left him demoralized. "That was a very tough time for me. The U-19 World Cup was a dream for me. I was losing my motivation and felt like quitting the game. Yuvi bhaiya (Yuvraj Singh) tried to console me when I injured myself. My family was behind me and they helped me get back to practice and do the hard yards," he was quoted as saying by a national daily.

His determination and the support from his family - he is the grandson of former India hockey player Y.P. Singh, seems to have paid off as he now looks to justify the confidence that Kings XI has placed in him. After all, he has been chosen over several other star-performers like Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, Luke Pomersbach and Indians Piyush Chawla and Praveen Kumar, among others.

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