"You are never really out of the game until the game is over, CSK taught me that," says Chaitanya Bishnoi
Chaitanya Bishnoi made his First-class debut for Durham University in England during the 2013-14 season. He did his higher education in Durham and with cricket in his mind, this was only a matter of time.
After his consistent all-round performances in domestic cricket, Chaitanya was given an opportunity in the Indian Premier League(IPL) where he was procured by the Chennai Super Kings in the auction. The 24-year-old all-rounder did not get a game but he loved his time with the Super Kings.
Sportskeeda caught up with Bishnoi about his early days, first-class games and his IPL stint.
"It was more of a learning experience more than anything else because you are playing with the likes of Mahi bhai, Jadeja, Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Faf Du Plessis, the list just goes on so we had quite an experience side and I got to learn from them. I learnt how games can be won from any situation, you are never really out of the game until the game is over, CSK taught me that. This has been a wonderful experience playing under such players", said Chaitanya while speaking about his experience.
Chaitanya did not play a single game but he still learned from the best. Speaking about his learnings and future exploits he said the best part was watching everyone go about their work.
"Personally, watching everybody train, watching how they prepare, off the field, on the field, how they carry themselves. I obviously didn’t get to play a game this year but for me personally, I believe by watching such great players, watching their mindset, their talks in the dressing room, these are some things I can take forward with me in the future and hopefully I can be a part of the team again next year."
He admitted that he knew that his chance might not come but was still preparing as if it would. In the end, he didn't end up playing a single game for CSK, so how did he take that disappointment?
"Disappointment is inevitable but at the same time I knew that my chance of playing this year was very nil because of the kind of side we had and the way we were playing we were winning games on a trot that kind of a situation when the batting unit is performing its really hard to give someone a chance so I was quite far back in the queue to get a game this year but my mindset was to stay prepared".
Chaitanya Bishnoi comes from a very affluent family. His grandfather Bhajan Lal was a former Chief Minister of Haryana and his father Kuldeep Bishnoi too was into politics although the latter was hugely addicted to cricket as well. His father introduced him to cricket at a young age after which he developed immense interest and love for the sport.
"My father was really into cricket in his days, he's still really passionate. He introduced me to cricket. I played cricket along with other sports but when I was selected in the Delhi U16 side I started taking cricket seriously".
Chaitanya moved to the UK to pursue his education but soon realised that cricket was his calling.
"I played first-class cricket in England as well and I did well there. I had a choice between either pursuing my education further or coming back to India and playing cricket. I choose the latter one, it was a difficult decision but it was the right decision because I can always pursue my education later on but my prime cricketing years are now so I thought let’s give cricket a longer run and just see how it turns out. I went to Durham and realized that I am gonna give cricket a proper go".
While playing in England, Chaitanya represented Durham MCC University, for whom he made his domestic debut at the age of 18.
"I made my domestic debut in England. I was 18 that time. It was my first-year university and I debuted against Durham. I can never forget that day. We were actually scrapping ice off the covers in the morning it was that cold but it was a wonderful experience. I scored 60 in my first innings, they had a packed side, they had Ben Stokes, Paul Collingwood, Graham Onions, it was one of the most challenging wickets to play in England so it was a good start to my career".
When asked about his interests in a particular format, he said, "I think in today's day and age you have to be able to adapt in all the three formats. I don't really see myself as a specialist in any format. Obviously, I like playing longer formats but shorter formats are exciting as well. They have their own challenges and as a cricketer, you've to be ready to face any challenges thrown in front of you so ya I enjoy playing all the three formats and I don't really have a specialization".
When asked about his most memorable encounter so far, the response was almost instantaneous. It was the game in which Haryana beat Tripura to reach the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy.
"My most memorable game has to be against the one against Tripura, it was the 2016/17 season where there were neutral venues. It was a must-win game for us. We had to win outright to qualify for the quarter-finals and it was that year we got relegated as well. I had a match-winning 50 odd in the first innings and 40 in the second innings. I really rate that performance highly and I’ll carry that for the rest of my life so that’s how much it means to me".
Talking about his inspirations, Chaitanya said "Its hard to pinpoint a particular person who's inspired me. I grew up idolizing Gilchrist but he wasn’t the only one I was inspired by. Roger Federer was my greatest inspiration and probably he is my greatest inspiration even now. You can learn so much from anybody, from teammates, from family, from friends, you can learn from anybody".
Bishnoi's keen interest in Tennis is a reason for his love for the great Roger Federer. While he admits that he loves to go trekking, play outdoor sports, read and watch TV shows, he is a massive tennis lover.
"I have a lot of other interests, I am a massive tennis fan so whenever I get time I go to watch or play. I was in England this year so I watched the Wimbledon."