When Anil Kumble’s company Tenvic, held the Spin Stars Contest in January 2015 for the age group of 10 to 19 around 3000 participants had got themselves enrolled. One of them was Registrant No. AKSSON0126 – Shivil Sharma Kaushik. A first-year B.Com student back then with not much of cricket experience, Kaushik emerged as the winner.
This fetched him an opportunity to be a part of a week-long coaching camp supervised by the iconic Anil Kumble. After that, the unorthodox bowling action and a talent hunt winner tag were enough for the young man to attract eyeballs. Soon he was selected for the trial camps with different franchises involved in the lucrative IPL. A successful outing for the Hubli Tigers in KPL, later on, sealed the IPL deal for him as he was picked up by the Gujarat Lions at a base price of 10 Lakhs.
In an exclusive conversation with CricFit correspondent Yash Kashikar, the 21-year old spoke candidly on his unique action and the journey so far.
Q: Please talk us through your childhood. Did you always want to become a cricketer?
Shivil: I started playing cricket since the age of 7. To be honest it was the only thing you would see me doing as a child. Later on at the age of 9, I joined the cricket academy at National Aerospace Laboratories ground in Bengaluru. There I was coached by the former Indian wicketkeeper, Sadanand Vishwanath.
Q: How did you pick up the unorthodox bowling style?
Shivil: It is something which has come naturally to me and I will always be thankful to God for that.
Q: With the kind of bowling action, you possess the chances of sustaining an injury are quite high. So, how do you manage the physical aspect of your game?
Shivil: Since my action is natural I have not had any injury concerns so far in my career. Basically, I feel that I am blessed with a good body. As far as my fitness regime is concerned I do a lot of running and that is what supports me immensely to stay fit.
Q: You are often compared to Paul Adams for the resemblance in your action. What are your views on it?
Shivil: I am honoured to be compared to a legend like him. And I sincerely hope that someday I can play for my country like he did.
Q: You were the winner of the Spin Stars contest which was held by Anil Kumble’s company in 2015. How did your life change after that talent hunt?
Shivil: The competition had close to 3000 participants and the top 3 contestants received a prize of Rs 1 lakh. Being the winner I was also selected for the trials and I got a chance to be a part of the Mumbai Indians camp for 2 months. So, I feel Tenvic spin stars was actually the changing point in my career.
Q: You played alongside some international cricketers like KL Rahul and S Aravind in KPL which surely must have been some learning experience. So, what kind of influence did KPl have on your career?
Shivil: Kl Rahul has always been an elder brother. He is just a phone call away and has always helped me whenever I needed any guidance may it be on or off the field. Overall, KPL has had a very important influence in my career.
Q: A successful outing for the Hubli Tigers in KPL sealed the IPL deal for you. However, we have heard that there was some confusion which unfolded on the 2016 auction day. Please tell us what exactly had happened at that moment?
Shivil: Actually, when my name was announced during the auction there was some other person’s photo. So, initially, we were pretty confused. However, later on when we checked on the internet and confirmed it was me we were very happy.
Q: How did you celebrate after getting an IPL contract?
Shivil: To be honest, there was no specific celebration as such. I just went to a temple with my family and thanked God for the opportunity. My family has been with me through thick and thin and everyone was extremely happy.
Q: You made your IPL debut against the Rising Pune Supergiants in their backyard. Talk us through about the experience of playing in front of a jam packed crowd. How long did it take for you to settle down the nerves?
Shivil: Playing in a huge stadium and that too in front of a full house was a different ball game altogether. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.
Q: Being a part of the franchise from Gujarat you have shared the dressing room with the likes of Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum and DJ Bravo. How did these individuals motivate you and did you find it difficult to get inducted into the side as a youngster?
Shivil: Sharing the dressing room which such legends was a dream come true moment for me. All of them accepted me for the person I am and helped me in every possible way.
Q: You have often attributed your progress to the iconic Anil Kumble. What kind of inputs have you received from him which has helped you become a better cricketer?
Shivil: Kumble sir has been the main reason everyone knows me today. The spin stars contest which was held by his company was the turning point in my career. He is my role model and I have always looked up to a legend like him.
Q: Over the years there have been many bowlers who have failed to perform at the higher level once the mystery behind their action gets decoded. So, how have you been preparing in terms of adding more variations to your bowling armoury?
Shivil: I feel hard work is something which will set me apart from everyone else because that is what has brought me where I am today. My action has definitely helped but I have worked very hard to be here. And I think more than my action that will make me survive at this level. As far as the variations in my bowling are concerned I have been working on the flipper off late.
Q: After remaining wicketless in three games in IPL 10 you were dropped from the squad. Do you feel you should have got more opportunities to prove your worth?
Shivil: I think that the number of matches wherein I played I bowled well in patches. So, I can’t really comment on this matter and am happy with the number of games I got.
Q: Not many are aware of the fact that you stop in your run-up before bowling your first ball every time. Kindly tell us more about this particular habit of yours.
Shivil: It’s just a superstition.
Shivil is all set for the rapid-fire round:
Your nickname: I don’t really have a nickname ( He chuckles)
Favourite cuisine: Indian
Favourite ground: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Favourite musician: J. Cole
Dream holiday destination: Amsterdam
Favourite actor: Nawazudin Siddiqui
Celebrity crush: Kalki kochein
Favourite sportsperson, outside cricket: Allen Iverson
Most special wicket till date: Yuvraj Singh
One batsman, you would love to get a wicket of: David Warner
Describe yourself in one word: Limitless
– by Yash Kashikar