After scoring a match-winning hundred against Jharkhand on Tuesday (January 12), Bengal opener Vivek Singh is overjoyed but has a bigger aim of catching the eye of IPL franchises ahead of the player auction next month.
Batting first, Vivek Singh smashed an unbeaten 100 off 64 balls to power Bengal to 161 for six. An all-round performance from the bowlers then restricted a star-studded Jharkhand line-up to 145 for nine. The southpaw was ecstatic after scoring his first-ever T20 hundred, while the team’s victory served as the icing on the cake.
“The feeling of scoring a hundred is always special, and if that contributes to a win for your side, then the happiness doubles,” Vivek Singh said in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda on Day 3 of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
With the IPL 2021 player auction set to be held next month, uncapped players would be looking to make the most of the ongoing tournament. Vivek Singh, though, is not new to the race. He has been overlooked by the franchises despite scoring heavily in the last three seasons. The 27-year-old, however, has chosen to stay optimistic and keep believing in destiny.
“The thought of getting picked in the IPL auction always runs at the back of my mind. Any player, who comes to play the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, dreams of catching the eye of the IPL scouts.
"I have been performing well in the domestic T20 circuit for the last three seasons, but still haven’t gotten any scope of playing in the cash-rich league. Okay, whatever happens, happens for good,” Vivek Singh said with a smile borne out of hope.
"Everybody has the same goal of winning the trophy" - Vivek Singh
All five sides in Elite Group B have their league matches scheduled at the Eden Gardens and Jadavpur University Salt Lake campus ground, in Kolkata. Vivek Singh was quick to acknowledge that Bengal will benefit from playing at home.
“This is our home ground, so we will obviously get some advantage. I have been playing T20 cricket for Bengal for the past three years. In the first two seasons, Shree bhaiya [Shreevats Goswami] scored the most number of runs [for Bengal] and I finished as the highest run-getter last season. This year, everything has gone according to plan as of now. Let’s see what happens,” Vivek Singh told Sportskeeda.
In seven outings in 2019, Vivek Singh smashed 271 runs at an average and strike-rate of 38.71 and 141.88 respectively. And he has been carrying that form since then.
After finishing as the second-highest run-scorer in the Bengal T20 Challenge with 346 runs at an average of 31.45, Vivek Singh has now scored a fifty and a century in the opening two matches of SMAT 2021.
Everybody has the same goal of winning the trophy. Only because everyone is thinking in the same direction is why all of us have been able to contribute to the wins in some way or the other. The mood in the camp is very good,” Vivek Singh revealed.
Bengal are scheduled to play Hyderabad on January 14 and Assam two days later, before squaring up against group-toppers Tamil Nadu in the big-ticket clash on January 18. Vivek Singh, however, admitted that Bengal are focusing on their own game rather than their opponents and are taking one match at a time.
“Same focus is on every match and we are taking each match as it comes. And who is in the opponent and who is not, that comes to mind once we are on the field. We are now only focusing on our cricket, not thinking about anything else. So when Tamil Nadu comes along, we will take it as just another match,” Vivek Singh concluded.
The league stage will conclude on January 19 before the quarterfinalists travel to Ahmedabad for the knockout stages. The final will be played on January 31.
Published 12 Jan 2021, 23:13 IST