Ishan Porel claimed 4 wickets in the U-19 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan © AFP
Ishan Porel claimed 4 wickets in the U-19 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan © AFP

In November 2017, Ishan Porel ran through the Punjab batting line-up to bowl Bengal to an innings win in the Ranji Trophy 2017-18. He got a five-wicket haul in the second innings and among his wickets was Shubman Gill. Two and a half months later, Porel and Gill starred in India’s win in the Under-19 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan. While Gill blazed a hundred, Porel dismantled Pakistan’s top-order with 4 wickets.

Porel had a very good start to his First-Class career and came into the mega event with a massive reputation. He tore through the South African batting line-up in the warm-up match, bagging 4 wickets and outshining fellow pacers Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.

Luck had played it’s game as the tournament unfolded. Porel got injured during India’s win over Australia, while the lesser-known Mavi and Nagarkoti took the centre stage.

Mavi and Nagarkoti clocked serious pace, and performed well, and were picked by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL Auctions 2018 for INR 3 crores and 3.2 crores respectively. Porel went unsold. Kolkata is a place where Porel played all his cricket before the rise. An only child of his parents, he would travel 45 km from Chandannagar, to Kolkata. Ironically, the Kolkata franchise snubbed him and picked his teammates.

Fit again, Porel’s efforts guided India to its fourth final of the Under-19 World Cup. His father Chandranath Porel is not too perturbed that the IPL auctions came a weekend early.

Shubman Gill's father opens up on his
Shubman Gill's father opens up on his "dedicated" son's cricket journey

“The IPL is an annual affair, the World Cup an experience of a lifetime. You really shouldn’t compare or confuse the two,” the senior Porel told Hindustan Times.

Focus on final

The phone in the Porel household may not have stopped buzzing but the message from the parents to their ward was simple.

“We [Chandranath and his wife Rita] tried to stay as calm and normal as possible. He has been told that the semi-final is over and now the focus should all be on the final. So, while as parents we are happy with what he did today, it is over for us too and we are looking ahead to the final now,” Chandranath, who is employed with Eastern Railway and was a kabaddi player, added.

With their son injured and watching the proceedings from the sidelines, the last few weeks was not easy for the family: “Like I told you, the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To see him get injured left us worried and disappointed. We would speak about everything apart from cricket for those few days. His mother would ask him about the places he visited and what he ate.”

India will take on Australia in the final at Mount Maunganui on Saturday.