Harjas Singh was the glue holding Australia’s batting line-up in the Under-19 World Cup 2024 final against a solid Indian bowling attack in Benoni.
With the pitch suffering wear and tear due to two back-to-back matches – the semi-finals – at the Willowmoore Park, Benoni, the stroke-making wasn’t easy, made even more challenging by the Indian bowlers.
After the sedate start given by Australia’s top three, it was Harjas Singh who took the attack to the Indians, so much that he even puzzled the generally calm Indian skipper Uday Saharan into making constant field and bowling changes to stop Harjas.
Australia found themselves in a precarious position at 99/3 in the 23rd over. However, Harjas Singh, who had had a terrible tournament until the final, counter-attacked with audacity and panache. The left-hander scored 55 runs in 64 balls, walloping 3 fours and 3 sixes, and was responsible for Australia going past at least 200 to give their bowlers a fighting chance on a wearing pitch. He was dismissed by spinner Saumy Pandey, lbw.
Harjas had scored only 49 runs in six innings in the tournament heading into the final. He had batted as an opener earlier, but was pushed to number 4 ahead of the semi-final.
Is Australian under-19 batsman Harjas Singh Indian?
The family of Harjas Singh hails from Chandigarh, Punjab, and moved to Sydney in 2000. Harjas, born in 2005, grew up in Australia and began his cricket career at the local Revesby Workers Cricket Club at the age of 8.
“I still have family back in Chandigarh and Amritsar. We have a house in Sector 44-D, but the last time I was there was 2015. Thereafter, cricket took over and I never got the opportunity. My uncle still lives there,” Harjas told The Indian Express recently.
He comes from a family of sporting backgrounds. His father Inderjit Singh was a Punjab state boxing champion, and his mother Avinder Kaur was a state-level long jumper.
He trained under coach Neil D’Costa, who coached the likes of Michael Clarke, and Marnus Labuschagne.
Other than Harjas Singh, there is another Punjabi in the Australian u-19 squad, Harkirat Bajwa, who is an off-spinner who took 4 wickets in 2 games in the tournament.