Basil Thampi reveals why his first IPL wicket will remain special:- He visited Rajagiri College ground in Kakkanad as chief guest of an U-15 tournament organised by his club. It was natural a bunch of kids would gather around him for selfies and he happily obliged.
“I know how excited the kids would be when they meet cricketers whom they have seen only on TV as I was like them some five years back. In 2012, I insisted on working for a catering company of my friend serving food for Ranji trophy cricketers at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium just to see the players close by. I was overjoyed meeting the likes of S Sreesanth, Raiphi Vincent Gomez and Sony Cheruvathur then. I have not risen to their stature yet but I am happy that everyone is appreciating my performances in IPL,” the Gujarat Lions pacer said.
A young Basil dreamt of donning Red in IPL as he thought that would help him survive Gaylestorm. Little did he know that time that Gayle was going to be his first IPL Wicket!!
“Records will always show Gayle as my first IPL wicket. But more than that I liked the way I managed to trap a batsman of his class lbw with a yorker. I used to tell my friends in my neighbourhood in Perumbavoor that if ever I played in IPL, I would like to play for RCB as that would spare me from being hit by Gayle. But here I was getting him dismissed. It was a surreal feeling,” Basil said.
Basil credted his IPL success to skipper Raina, coach Heath Streak and fellow teammate Munaf Patel, and New Zealand former skipper Brendon McCullum. “It took me four matches to get my first wicket. But they never put pressure on me. My skipper Raina said “you are bowling well and it”s just a matter of time before you will start getting wickets”. Munaf bhai and Streaky spent a lot of time with me working on my bowling. Even though Brendon McCullum had to return home after he got injured midway through IPL, he texted me on how to make use of the bowling crease after I got hit in one of the games. These are all things I never dreamt off.”
Basil”s self assessment of the game says he is more suited to shorter versions of the game “I have got a feeling that I am a bowler more suited for limited-overs version of the game. Both Streaky and Munaf bhai have told me to work on my swing which will help me in getting more wickets in longer versions of the game. However, these improvements in my skills won”t come at the cost of pace,” insists Basil.
National selectors have been keeping a close eye on him and could consider him for India A “I always set short-term goals. I am glad he (Prasad) mentioned my name in players they are looking at for India “A”. And now my target would be to make it to India “A” squad. God willing, I will be there soon,” Basil says.
– by Atharva Apte