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Will 'Big Baby Punjab' finally get playing minutes?
With two days to go for India to face off against Iraq in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, can we expect 'Big Baby Punjab' to play a meaningful role?
Who is 'Big Baby Punjab'?
The 6ft 11'' Amaan Sandhu hails from Mohali, Punjab and comes from a family of ballers. As reported on FIBA.com, "His father, Gurcharanjeet Sandhu, played for India for 1995 to 2002 while his mother, Rajinder Kaur, played domestically for more than a decade. And Amaan is not the only sibling to play for his country as his sister Aakarshan Sandhu participated at the FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women 2016."
Sandhu was among the initial batch of trainees at the NBA Academy India, and has participated in multiple Basketball Without Border (BWB) camps. Currently, he is the recipient of a full scholarship to study and train at the First Love Christian Academy in Pennsylvania, USA.
It was during Sandhu's time at the NBA Academy in India, that he earned the nickname 'Big Baby Punjab', stemming from his initially over-sized 6ft 7'' 130 kgs frame.
Will Amaan Sandhu have an impact?
Last February, Sandhu made his debut at the continental level as a 17-year-old in the Senior team that went 1-1 in the First Window of the ongoing 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. Sandhu did not get any playing time and will be hoping to finally step on the floor during the upcoming third & final Window of games.
This is a high stakes, potential win-or-go home situation for India, which ideally needs to win at least one of the two games to stay in contention for qualifying for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.
The team is already missing the services of big-men Amritpal Singh, Satnam Singh (both serving dope suspensions/bans) and Princepal Singh (NBA G-League). The current roster has only power forwards Amjyot Singh & Aravind Annadurai, with another debutant Vivek Goti, playing at the centre position.
In such a scenario, it will be interesting to see if the 'Big Baby Punjab' will finally get some on-court action.
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