'I went blank for a while' – Deepak Hooda

‘I knew it would be a good auction for me. I was confident of being picked up, but didn’t expect this price’ – Deepak Hooda © BCCI

Deepak Hooda, Sunrisers Hyderabad, INR 420,000

I didn’t follow it closely. When one of my relatives told me [that I was picked] I went blank for a while. I instantly hugged all my friends who were with me. I knew it would be a good auction for me. I was confident of being picked up, but didn’t expect this price. My mom told me I had to focus more and work even harder. I felt that, ‘people trust me so much, I need to live up to it.’

[Playing the Mushtaq Ali Trophy before the IPL auction] was a good thing. But ek dum pressure tha [there was a lot of pressure] because I knew what had happened to Rajasthan Royals, and I needed to keep performing to attract a new team. Given my IPL experience, there is also naturally more expected of me when I play for Baroda. But automatically sab accha hua [everything panned out well].

I think the Ranji Trophy last season was very important to me. Also, winning the best allrounder award in domestic one-dayers last season. Munaf bhai treats me like his younger brother and he taught me what life is about really, its ups and downs. Rahul bhai, Monty [Desai] bhai and others in the IPL were hugely helpful because I would keep asking them a lot of questions on getting better.

Karun Nair, Delhi Daredevils, INR 400,000

Obviously, my heart is still pounding. Many people have been mocking me [about how] I was going to go for this much [money] or that much. When people keep telling you, it sort of gets to your head, so I stopped thinking about it. I didn’t expect so much. I was only hoping to get what I got at Rajasthan Royals last year [₹ 75 lakh]. That was the bare minimum I expected.

M Ashwin, Rising Pune Super Giants, INR 450,000

I expected to be picked but not this price. I got picked by a team that I didn’t go for trials [Ashwin had auditioned for three teams – Kings XI Punjab, Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore]. I was really nervous because my name came at the end and the purse was getting diminished. I sat in the same place with my dad from the morning [out of superstition]. I got excited even when I was bid for at the base price. I was happy at that time that some team had opted for me. I was not too keen on the money, but just wanted to play for an IPL franchise and gain experience.

My wife, who was at her cousin’s place, was in tears when she heard the news. [The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy] before the IPL is a very big boost. It’s a great opportunity to come into the limelight. I saw it as a life-changing, life-altering tournament.

Ishan Kishan, Gujarat Lions, INR 35 lakh: I found out only after the match. But I’m not thinking much about it because it’s a kind of distraction and mind gets diverted so just concentrating on the World Cup right now.

“[An an IPL contract means at this age] means a lot to a player, it gives a lot of happiness. You get confidence from it that you have to prove yourself in the World Cup so that people think that you’ve been picked for the right reasons.”

[On India Under-19 team-mate Rishabh Pant being bought by Daredevils for INR 1.9 crore] “It’s a World Cup going on and semi-final is coming up so we are not seeing it individually that who got what in IPL. A lot of careers are yet to be made so we are trying to do our best in the World Cup.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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