By Frankie D’Cruz
When someone is as charismatic and imposing as Datuk Dr Harjit Singh, it is easy to be seduced into giving credit.
The ever-sprightly Dr Harjit, an ornament to cricket, has deservedly gained pride of place in the pantheon of sporting legends. His induction into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame on Thursday added another gem to his catalogue of awards as a cricket player and administrator.
At age 67, the ‘doctor of cricket’ pulses with explosive energy, embracing the virtues of every great sportsman — undying passion and dedication.
“It’s a tireless job but I love it because of my passion for sports,” he told Malay Mail after receiving his award.
He embodies grassroots development; his achievements illustrate the visionary he is; and his desire hinges on creating opportunities.
“By creating opportunities, you develop player keenness, go on to broaden the base and finally improve standards,” he said.
Setback: “The lack of sporting facilities and the neglect of school sports is today the bane of Malaysian sport.”
As schools are the heartbeat of sports, Dr Harjit honked up his guts to pioneer the Kancil Programme “Catch ‘em Young” in 1987. Aim: To popularise cricket in schools in the state and raise its standard in the country.
A cricket revolution was born and Dr Harjit, who has been president of the Johor Cricket Council since 1987, entrenched his reputation as a game changer. The scheme batted off with 17 schools in Johor Baru but today, it has spread to some 200 schools in 11 districts. Schools in rural Johor including Felda schemes get a taste of cricket.
Dr Harjit, deputy president of the Malaysian Cricket Association from 1990 to 2003 and chairman of development, then went national with the programme.
An exciting chapter was added to the extraordinary story of Dr Harjit’s career as healer of cricket when the Johor government allotted 14 acres for the first cricket academy in Southeast Asia.
That cricket is not considered an elite sport has not deterred Dr Harjit from pushing forward with the help of sponsors.
It speaks volumes of his vigour that Dr Harjit continues to raise funds for the development of cricket.
That bags of love for cricket stemmed from his father Meva Singh, an ex-Selangor and Kilat Club cricketer. His wife of 35 years Kaldip Kaur, sons Dr Rajinder and Gurdip keep his passion burning.
Dr Harjit learnt to score at the age of five, earned his personal bat at six and came under the watchful eye of the late legend Mike Shepherdson at the Kilat nets. He was a star player in his teens, representing the state in 1966 and continued playing into the late 1990s. When he returned home in 1980 after medical studies in India, Dr Harjit was a national player until a knee injury ended his competitive playing days.
Since then he has honed, toned and burnished cricket to an A-list shine.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] 16964
Harinder dons Malaysian jersey at Indoor Cricket World Cup (Asia Samachar, 20 Sept 2017)
Cricket legend Lall Singh leads Malaysia’s Hall of Fame list (Asia Samachar, 11 Dec 2016)
Johor royalty grace former Malaysian cricketer son’s wedding (Asia Samachar, 22 Feb 2016)
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