Rajasthan Royals’ pacer Chetan Sakariya was one of the finds of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League. The left-hand fast bowler was particularly remarkable for the RR in death overs, and before the tournament was suspended last month, he had taken seven wickets in as many games with an economy rate of 8.22 (least for the side among bowlers who played five or more games).
Among the seven wickets Sakariya took, one was of legendary former Indian captain and current Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In an exclusive interview with India TV, the 23-year-old bowler termed the dismissal the “most special” one.
“Dhoni’s wicket was the most special for me. The match took place in Wankhede Stadium and the wicket was helping the batsmen. The match situation also suited Dhoni because he plays very well in death overs. So, to dismiss him at that point felt very nice,” Sakariya said.
“Our plan was to make him play away from his body because he was comfortably dealing with the deliveries coming into him. Thankfully, the plan worked.”
Following the suspension of the tournament, Sakariya came back home safely, but tragedy struck his family as his father, Kanjibhai Sakariya succumbed to COVID-19.
The RR bowler said that he tries to keep himself busy to stay away from negative thoughts.
“It has been a difficult time for me and my family. I try to be with my friends as much as I can and try not to think about the present situation. It gets tough when you’re alone,” Sakariya says.
“The restrictions are easing slowly here, so I’m able to train in the ground. I’m focussing on fitness and try to run as much as possible.
“I received phone calls from many people during this time. Jaydev Shah, the president of the Saurashtra Cricket Association talked to me and Jaydev Unadkat also called me. Sanga sir (Sangakkara) asked everyone at Rajasthan Royals to not call me because he wanted to let me be with my family during this difficult time. I’m very thankful for all the support,” said Sakariya.
Talking about his career goals, the bowler said that he wants to represent India in the longest format of the game.
“I want to play Test matches for India, that is my goal. I want to play in the whites for a long time, like Zaheer sir. Test cricket is challenging and it allows you to improve your fitness and skills,” said the 23-year-old.
“My selection is not in my hands. I’m only focussing on my performances. Yes, if I continue with the same form I’m hopeful of representing the country soon.”