Sydney, Dec 14: A 26-year-old off-spinner of Indian origin has decided to break down barriers in his bid to pursue cricket career in Australia.
Manjot Singh, who is a car salesman, has decided not to wear the turban despite that move leaving his religious parents "upset".
The spinner is hoping to break into the Australian team in the future. In his first major step towards that, he made it to the New South Wales (NSW) team.
Manjot made his first-class debut last week against South Australia. It was not a good first outing for him as he finished with figures of 0/44 and 0/6. With the bat, he made 3 and 19.
In today's "Sydney Morning Herald", Manjot was quoted as saying that he gave up the turban as he did not "feel comfortable" wearing that after growing up in a Western society.
"My parents are very religious, my father is a secretary at a Sikh temple, and I respect their beliefs 100 per cent. However, as someone who grew up in a Western society I didn't feel that comfortable (wearing the turban) and it was my decision. I did it for myself, decided to not wear it," Manjot told the newspaper.
"That was the reason why I cut it. I thought I'd worn it for 18 years but I made the decision and I feel comfortable. It upset my parents, as I say they're very religious, and it was hard at first but they've grown to realise I'm still the same person even without the turban," he added.
Manjot is only the second cricketer to play for NSW after fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu.
"Growing up I always wanted to play for NSW and CNSW has been very supportive. I think they're giving kids from a subcontinental background a belief they can get there, that there is opportunities. It's just not for kids of Indian backgrounds, it's for kids of all cultures and I hope they see from Gurinder and my selections, and Usman Khawaja (of Pakistani heritage) before us, that if you work hard it'll be acknowledged," Manjot said.
Manjot has represented NSW Under-19 team was coached by Sydney Sixers wicketkeeper Daniel Smith.
"He was seen as the next big thing when he came through the junior ranks at NSW but it didn't happen in a hurry and he was a bit disappointed, a bit dejected. He took a year off work and cricket, trained hard, returned with a fresher attitude and was so much more fitter and he's been on fire. He has the Aussie mongrel in him, he likes the fight and never gives up," Smith said of Manjot.