Come IPL-V, there are many who can create flutters in the seven-week long cricket razzmatazz. Saurashtra’s middle-order batsman Chirag Jani sure has it in him to impress in the shortest format.
Jani shot into limelight during the zonal one-dayers of the Vijay Hazare Trophy a month ago when he hit a 67-ball 98 against Maharashtra. He followed his fireworks in rest of the matches too. This actually earned him a contract with IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) this season.
“I got a call from Kolkata Knight Riders office offering me a contract for this season. It was a pleasant surprise for me. Now that I have got into the fold, I will try my best to live up to the expectations as and when I get any opportunity,” Jani told MiD DAY after a practice session at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
It’s not easy for a rookie to adjust in a star-studded side like KKR, which has Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, and Yusuf Pathan among others in their ranks. But Jani is interested in learning the tricks of the trade from the stalwarts. “This is my first season and so whatever they (Gambhir, Kallis and others) say I will treat that as professional advice from masters of game. I am here to learn. Sharing the dressing room with them is a dream come true for me,” Jani said.
Being an all-rounder, Jani idolises maestro Sachin Tendulkar and former English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. “As an Indian you don’t have to go far for an idol figure. Sachin is a hero for every Indian cricketer. I also admire Flintoff for his aggressive style,” Jani said.
With the World Twenty20 scheduled in September in Sri Lanka, Jani will give it his best shot to be in the reckoning. “I like to attack the bowlers from the word go and so my style suits limited overs format. If I can do well in the IPL, I may be in the reckoning for an India berth for the World T20. But first, I have to contribute to KKR’s success whenever my chance comes,” Jani felt.