A day after losing his father, Mandeep Singh chose to step out to play for Kings XI Punjab (KIXP) in their IPL2020 match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Dubai. On Saturday night, when the match was held, Mandeep opened with his captain K.L Rahul. He could, however, manage to score only 17 runs off 14 balls before he was caught off Sandeep Sharma in the deep.
Mandeep, whose father Hardev Singh had died a night before in a Chandigarh hospital, is understood to have communicated to his franchise that he was up to playing the game. The Kings XI team wore a black armband as a mark of respect.
In a show of sportsmanship, as Mandeep walked out to bat, some of the SRH’s players, including their lead spinner Rashid Khan, walked up to console him. Incidentally, a couple of years ago, Rashid had also lost his father while playing in the Big Bash League. He, too, had opted to continue playing then.
Keeping his dad’s wishes
Apparently, the sad news of Mandeep’s father’s passing was conveyed to him by his brother Harvinder Singh, a veterinary doctor.
Speaking exclusively to us over the telephone, Harvinder says, “The sad part of the story was that my father had one of his legs amputated above the knee barely two days before. I used to update Mandeep about dad’s condition every day. He cried a lot when he heard the news but he managed to play because my father wanted him to play and win the IPL trophy this year.”
Adding that their father was an athlete himself, who retired as the District Sports Officer in Jalandhar, Harvinder shared that the former had some liver-related issues as well as diabetes, passing away at the age of 67.
When asked if he hoped for his brother, who has played three T-20 internationals, to join in the family’s grief, Harvinder said, “I performed our dad’s last rites on Saturday. There is no question of Mandeep returning halfway. My father also would not have liked it. Mandeep is meant to play the tournament and regain his position in the national team.”