Later my childhood friend called me and said you are selected, and that is when I came to know about it"around 8'o clock in the night," he said
Tilak Varma and Kieron Pollard. Pics/PTI, AFP
It was in the deep hours of Wednesday night Namboori Tilak Varma shared the news of his India selection to his parents, Nagaraju and Gayatri Devi, over a video call. The Namboori household soon was blanched with a whirlpool of emotions. It was a pleasant culmination of the dream they were cherishing since Tilak started his cricketing journey from the humble surroundings of Legala Cricket Academy in Lingampally, Hyderabad. After many hours, Tilak's voice was still a bit sandpapery while he recalled that moment. "My mom and dad were literally crying yesterday. I made a video call to them and they were very emotional. My coach (Salam Bayash) also had the same reaction. He also became very emotional," Tilak, who is playing Duleep Trophy semi-final against North Zone, said after the end of second day's play. On Wednesday, the 20-year-old stylish Hyderabad left-hander was drafted into the India T20I side for the series against West Indies. It may be a coincidence that the man of the moment had to hear the big news from a childhood friend as his mobile phone was switched off because he was playing the Duleep Trophy semifinals here for South Zone. Perhaps, it was destiny's way to involve all those who had travelled with Tilak in his growth to the top level.
"I was playing in the Duleep Trophy (hence the mobile was switched off). Later my childhood friend called me and said you are selected, and that is when I came to know about it"around 8'o clock in the night," he said. Along with that inborn ability to concentrate on the job at hand, Tilak said playing for Mumbai Indians in the IPL has helped him prepare for the moment of his life. "I will always back myself in any situation. I try to be clear in my mindset because Kieron Pollard was the main guy who used to do the job for us in that situation (death overs). He always tells me to be calm and just focus on the next ball. So, I just back myself each time I entered and the results worked," he said. Bayash, his childhood coach, could not contain his happiness, seeing his ward climbing the deserving heights. "He is a very good student of the game. He learns very quickly and remains a simple young man with a lot of focus on cricket. I first watched him playing tennis ball cricket, and realised he has the potential to go all the way and play for India. Now, the moment has come and hopefully he will deliver for the country too," said Bayash. The focus Bayash was mentioning was on view when Tilak said at present, he was concentrating on taking South Zone to win against Central Zone.
"I am more confident now because I am a capped player. It is a big thing to get selected for the Indian team but I kept it aside. But even in my sleep, I was thinking of tomorrow's game (Duleep Trophy)," said Tilak. But the getting to top was not a cakewalk for Tilak as he had missed the whole of 2022-23 Ranji Trophy season with a muscle tissue injury that he had suffered during India A tour to Bangladesh. But Tilak showed no lack of confidence during his first long form match this year, making a composed 46. "I used to play red ball (cricket) more than white ball from childhood. Every coach used to tell me that red ball game where you will be tested. So, I always love to play the red ball game. I think white ball game is more about mindset, but the red ball is where my skills will be tested. So, I was confident," he said.
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