I went away and sat in the washroom when the teams were bidding for me, says Kamlesh Nagarkoti
Last week, India created history by becoming the first team to win the under-19 World Cup on four occasions. The Prithvi Shaw-led team was completely dominant in the 2018 edition since day one as they breezed past each team that they faced in the tournament. Every single member of the squad contributed to the team's success and few players stood out among others to help India bring the cup back home.
India's challenge in the tournament was spearheaded by the eventual Player of the Tournament Shubman Gill, who scored 372 runs in five innings at an average of 124 and a strike-rate of 112.38, with the help of three fifties and one century. He was backed well by other players in the team and one name that grabbed everyone's attention is fast bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
Though he managed to pick just nine wickets at an average of 16.33 in six matches, the way he bowled impressed a lot of people, including some of the former cricketers. He constantly bowled over 140 kmph and made life difficult for the opposition batsmen, who had hardly faced deliveries coming in at this speed. Thanks to his heroics in the tournament, he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 3.2 crore at the IPL auction.
Unlike most of his under-19 teammates, Nagarkoti won't be taking part in the ongoing Vijay Hazare trophy and the right-arm pacer is set to have a brief time off from the sport after winning the World Cup.
Sportskeeda caught up with the 18-year-old to discuss various subjects. Here are the excerpts:
On the experience of playing in the under-19 World Cup: Yeah, the experience was very good. I played the under-19 World Cup and it was like a dream come true. Even bigger than that was to play with Rahul (Dravid) Sir because he is very inspirational. Everything that he has done in his life is an inspiration for budding cricketers like us.
On the non-stop appreciation from the fans and former cricketers, which include the likes of Ian Bishop, Sourav Ganguly etc.: I had seen or heard about this (Ganguly praising him). Someone on the ground, during one of our matches, told me that I was bowling well and I felt really nice about it. But, Dravid Sir constantly reminded me not to forget what my job was. He said that these things keep happening but my concentration should be on improving my game and I should continue to do well. Hence, I kept my focus on the game and tried giving my best.
What's next for Kamlesh Nagarkoti? Ummm, I am not playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. We have IPL in a couple of months. It is a nice platform for everyone. Many experienced players will be there. There will be players who are senior to me and the chance to play with them is one in a million. So, I am going to plan accordingly. I was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders and I have amazing people to learn from. They have (Jacques) Kallis Sir and (Simon) Katich sir to guide us. All that they have done in life, I can learn from them and incorporate that into my game.
On the expectations he had ahead of the IPL auction: I wasn't expecting to be paid this much. But, I didn't have all these things on my mind because my attention was entirely on the World Cup. I had a conversation with Dravid Sir. He told me that this opportunity of playing in the under-19 World Cup is my first ever chance and I might not get it again. Hence, I knew that I was representing my country and that's where my focus was. All I wanted was to help my team win the World Cup and make my country proud. If I manage to do so, things will take care of itself. Having said that, when my name was approaching, I was very nervous and didn't even see the teams bid for me. I went away and sat in the washroom. And then, I came to know that they paid so much for me. So, it felt great, obviously.