Bhavnagar (Gujarat) [India], August 19 (ANI): Rajasthan Royals pacer Chetan Sakariya said he felt amazing when he got to know that former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid was following his performances. Sakariya's meteoric rise in the past six months has seen the youngster put Gujarat's Bhavnagar on the map when it comes to cricket.
Having been snapped up by the Rajasthan Royals at the IPL Auction for INR 1.2 crores, the left-arm pacer went on to impress everyone with his bowling in the first phase of IPL 2021, picking up 7 wickets in as many matches.
Recalling his first interaction with Dravid, Sakariya said, "After having completed a two-week quarantine in Sri Lanka, we had a get together and everyone was either working out or stretching outdoors, and I was taking a rest near the poolside when Rahul sir came up to me and said, 'Hi Chetan, Rahul here.'
"I was shocked and startled at first because I couldn't believe that it was really him, but I stood up and said 'hi' to him. I introduced myself and he asked me about my family background, playing experience, etc. He also asked about cricket in Saurashtra and how we've been doing well in the last five years, and complimented me for my bowling and said he had followed my journey during the IPL, and that he liked how I bowled with the new and the old ball. So, it felt amazing that a legend like him knew who I was and was following my performances," Sakariya added.
Sakariya reflected on the past six months and termed the journey as dream come true.
"When I was picked up by Rajasthan Royals, the only thing running in my mind was that they have shown so much faith in me, I wanted to make sure that I was performing well and helping the team win. I think I did a decent job whenever I was given the responsibility," said Sakariya
"Then to make it to the Indian team, it has been a dream come true. When I first heard of it, there were a lot of thoughts in my head, but I was unable to believe it. I pinched myself because I was wondering if it was even true. I didn't think of it in a way that I would get to play or not, just being a part of that dressing room was a huge moment for me," he added.
The youngster added he was also fortunate to have trained with Bhuvneshwar Kumar during the tour. "I met Bhuvi bhai during the nets, and saw him bowling consistently at one spot, so I asked him what the secret behind it was, and he told me that the secret was to feel the action, and make sure that the focus is on each step during the run-up. So that was special, and I've tried doing that as well."
2021 has certainly been a rollercoaster ride for the pacer, and he stated that he was going through all kinds of emotions before he bowled his first ball in international cricket.
"When I was preparing to bowl that first ball, I had a couple of minutes to go through marking my run-up, warming up etc., and in that moment, I could see a flashback of everything that had unfolded in my life -- the good, the bad, the sacrifices, the support, the criticism -- everything. So, it was emotional but gave me a lot of motivation to do well and that was the thought in my mind," he said.
Also reflecting on his performances during the first phase of the IPL, Chetan said, "I think focusing on the process helped me. When I was new into the IPL, I had doubts but once I bowled that first ball, that first over and played that first match, I realized that it was the same thing that I had been doing since my younger days. The only difference was that the intensity was much higher in the IPL, and it was more of a game that depended on mental toughness." (ANI)