Hours before Mandeep Singh came out to open for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Saturday, he had attended the last rites of his father through a video call.
Hardev Singh, 68-year-old former athletics coach, passed away on Friday night after a long illness and Singh could only wish him goodbye from afar.
Mandeep opened the innings in the absence of Mayank Agarwal and made crucial 17 off 14 balls. In a low scoring match that Kings XI won by 12 runs after settting a target of 127, his 17 eventually proved crucial.
The 28-year-old has not been in a good form, scoring 27, 6, and 0 in the previous matches he played in the tournament. After being rested for three matches, he was picked up for injured Agarwal.
In a touching gesture, his teammates wore black armbands in the match as a tribute to opening batsman Mandeep Singh's father.
"Lost his father last night, but Mandy's out here to open! Raising hands. Way to go, Mandy," Kings XI Punjab said on its Twitter handle.
Kings XI dedicated the win to Mandeep's father.
Mandeep's brother Harvinder told Indian Express that the young cricketer decided to play despite the tragedy as "that’s what father would have loved to see".
“We informed Mandeep about our father’s death last night. He was inconsolable, but said later, ‘I will play the match as that’s what father would have loved to see’. It has been tough for Mandeep today but we are sure our father would have been watching him play from heavens,” Harvinder Singh was quoted as saying by the daily.
Harvinder, who had been ill for quite some time, had trained Mandeep during his early days.
Former Indian great Sachin Tendulkar also lauded the cricketer for turning up to play despite suffering a personal tragedy.
"Loss of a loved one hurts, but what's more heartbreaking is when one doesn't get to say a final goodbye. Praying for @mandeeps12, @NitishRana_27, and their families to heal from this tragedy. Hats off for turning up today. Well played," Tendulkar tweeted.
Tendulkar also mentioned KKR's Nitish Rana who lost his father-in-law before the match.
Tendulkar himself had also once played under similar circumstances when his father passed away as he was playing for India in 1999 World Cup in England. Tendulkar briefly returned home, performed last rites of his father and came back to play against Kenya. On return, Tendulkar scored one of the most emotional centuries of his international cricket career and helped win India after to defeats omn the trot.
Some former crickets and Twitter users also paid respects to Mandy's father and lauded the Punjab batsman for his professionalism.