Chirag Suri was up at 7am in Dubai to follow the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 auction on Monday.
There was excitement and of course a bit of nervous energy. "By the time, I was called, i.e. player No. 245, it was already 1:30 pm (UAE time), almost six hours later. We didn't move when my name came up and once I was picked, it didn't sink in for some time. Later, we were all elated at home," he told mid-day, reflecting on a day that has changed his career. It's not just a big occasion for him, but for UAE cricket too, as it's the first time a player from the country will get a chance to feature in the IPL. Suri said, "In the UAE, people are passionate about cricket and so far, we hadn't had a player in the IPL. Hopefully, this is the start for many more in the future."
And, as expected, Suri has become the talk of the town in the cricketing circles of the country. "It has been buzzing here as it has been discussed on the radio, in newspapers. It is a great feeling and I have had a sleepless 24 hours," he said. An opening batsman, Suri has had a brush with the IPL in the past when he played a few warm-up games when the tournament was held there in 2014.
"In my first game, I got to face the likes of Tim Southee and Shane Watson. I was only 19 at the time and that was a huge leap," Suri says looking back at that experience.
Suri, now, gears up for a stint with the Gujarat Lions in the IPL and will rub shoulders with the likes of Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy and Dwayne Bravo to name a few.