Dhoni, Harbhajan are my role models: Gurkeerat

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Bengaluru, Sept 20: Having earned a maiden call-up in the Indian ODI side for the upcoming South Africa series, Punjab all-rounder Gurkeerat Singh Mann today said that captain MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh are his batting and bowling role models respectively.

Gurkeerat, who was rewarded with a place in the ODI team for his consistent performance for India A in the recent limited overs matches, said that he got to learn a lot from just watching the limited-overs skipper Dhoni play.

Gurkeerat Singh Mann reacts during India A's match against Bangladesh A in Bengaluru on September 16

"In the current lot, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is my batting role model because we both play very much at the same batting order. I relate to his game a lot, and I earnestly watch him bat whenever he is playing for India. I get to learn a lot from him," Gurkeerat told reporters after India A won the third unofficial ODI against Bangladesh A to clinch the series 2-1 at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here.

Gurkeerat struck a fine 65 in the opening game and also returned with figures of 5/29 with his off-spin to give India A the lead. The Muktsar-born player said he always looked up to the veteran off-spinner Harbhajan for tips.

"My bowling role model is Harbhajan Singh. We were lucky to have him play in this year's Ranji Trophy. Whenever I had a bowling problem I went up to him for some vital tips," he said.

Asked if he was surprised at the call-up in the Indian squad, Gurkeerat said, "Selection is something which you have no control on and there is no point thinking about that."

Asked about the challenge of playing alongside senior players like Dhoni and others, Gurkeerat said he would gain experience by rubbing shoulders with some of the legends of the game.

"More than challenge, I will gain experience, because I will share dressing room with seniors who are legends. That's it I would learn from them," Gurkeerat said.

Replying to a query about his Kings XI Punjab coach Sanjay Bangar's influence, Gurkeerat said, "Bangar has been a valuable factor for me. He has helped with my batting techniques, which eventually helped me improve my game."

Looking forward to the South Africa series, Gurkeerat, who will be looking to make an impact if given a chance in the ODIs starting October 11 in Kanpur, believes that playing against the likes of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn would be a challenge and an ideal opportunity to showcase one's talent.

"Playing against Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will be a challenge, and it will be a very good opportunity for me," he said.

"However, any player on a given a day is a potential danger," Gurkeerat added.

PTI

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