Busy playing club cricket on foreign soil, the stumper shares a few moments of his career & personal life
It is off-season for domestic cricketers and the luckier ones are busy unleashing their skills in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Without a franchise to represent, Rajasthan’s ‘keeper Dishant Yagnik is beating the heat in a rather unconventional manner. The dynamo these days is busy playing Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond (KNCB) League, a Dutch league, where he’s representing the club Salland CC. It is his first outing as a professional cricketer in Netherlands, but with score of 119 and 48 so far that helped the club register wins, it seems he belongs to this foreign shore.
Revealing about the league Yagnik said, “We will play 18 league matches as a team. I am the only one from Rajasthan here in the company of several players from South India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka among others. I have played overseas before as well and that includes countries like Singapore, England, Dubai.” These are 50-over matches which will be followed by T20s.
Apart from monetary incentive, he said playing such leagues outside India broadens skill set and the experience with players from other nations helps one evolve as a cricketer.
“Accepting the offer has so much to do with the experience of playing on different pitches and against varied bowlers. Also it can be seen as match practice in off season. Here the ball is swinging a lot because of strong wind and general climate, so definitely this exposure will come in handy during domestic season back home.”
With his debut in first-class cricket in 2004, Yagnik has come a long way. Here is sneak peek into a few moments of his career and personal life that describes the player and the individual he is:
PLOY TO TRAP GAMBHIR
He is also a good reader of the game and in this context it’s worth recalling the game played between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders during IPL 2013 where the challenge was to get KKR’s in-form batsman Gautam Gambhir out. While everyone was still racking their brains, the petite ‘keeper came up with a plan – he told Rahul Dravid that Gambhir has a tendency to step out after facing a couple dot balls, so he will keep up the stumps to Shane Watson. Dravid though warned him that the bowler was a pacer, but he stuck to his plan and the threat of Gambhir was annihilated by a swift slicing of stumps by Yagnik.
The ‘keeper was a regular feature for Rajasthan Royals.
A GILCHRIST FAN
An admirer of the former Australian southpaw Adam Gilchrist, Yagnik, who also is a left-hander, follows the Aussie’s work ethic to the extent that his teammates have his number saved with the name ‘Gilly’. His dream to be a cricketer could become a reality only because he managed to get first division in Boards; a condition that his mother had imposed to allow him to pursue cricket as a career. Given that he was a bright kid, he could clear the hurdle and his tryst with the game, which had begun at the age of eight when his father first introduced him to his coach DL Nagar, became his line of work.
His 31 dismissals in just 8 matches during 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season explains his concentration and athleticism, a condition must for any ‘keeper. No wonder, during the Gary Kirsten camp where most of the players were found wanting on fitness scale, Yagnik was praised for keeping the standards high. A fitness freak, he unfailingly attends gym and follows rigorous training that also involves running uphill with weights on ankles alongside fitness drills on ground.
His ultimate challenge was keeping wickets for Bard Hogg’s wrong ‘un as it is quite a task especially on turning tracks. He shares, “Hogg helped me out with it by explaining how he bowls and trained me in the nets till I was comfortable.”
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Yagnik also has a romantic side to him. He recalls, “I met Neha in a marriage function of my cousin and it was love at first sight. I was so smitten by her that I approached one of my aunts, who was Neha’s neighbour, to send a marriage proposal to her parents.” While he was busy with Ranji camp, he received a call from Neha’s father who gleefully gave consent for their marriage.
In the last one decade, several ‘keepers have come and gone, but Yagnik has stamped his authority more than anyone else. With 45 first-class games under his belt he is also a vital middle-order batter.