Maharashtra’s Ankeet Bawane has had a career changing experience in the last year or so. Bawane scored runs for Maharashtra, became a regular in the India A setup and also became a part of the Delhi Daredevil’s setup in IPL 2017.
Bawane said, "Bhai, ek mahina Rahul Dravid ke saath South Africa mein, ek mahina New Zealand mein. Aur kya chahiye insaan ko? (Brother, one month with Rahul Dravid in South Africa, one month in New Zealand, what else one wants?) Poora career-changing experience."
"It (confidence) is natural," he says as a matter of fact. "When you do well for India A, facing bowlers like Rabada, Henry, (Lockie) Ferguson - all bowling over 145 kmph, you are bound to feel confident. And that confidence then shows up in your game when you're facing domestic bowlers. You always want to dominate them."
"Even as Rahul sir was the coach in both DD and India A, during IPL, with so many players around and events going on, we didn't get to talk as much. On our A tours, I got a lot more time with him, he observed my game closely. And any time he felt he wanted to give me any input, he would say, 'why don't you try playing like this. See if it works for you'. The kind of inputs I would get from him were phenomenal. He could understand so much about my game that I couldn't," he says in awe of Dravid.
Ankeet Bawane called his time with Delhi Daredevils as life changing experience, "But DD was an experience of its own. There were so many star players and Dravid sir had told me 'go and talk to them. No one will say no if you go and ask them for any help on your game.' Even as I didn't play a lot of games, there was a sea of knowledge for me."
He remembers what Kedar Jadhav had said about him some time ago, "We need guys like him (Bawne) to go and play a higher level of cricket, get picked in IPL sides. Only when they come back with their learnings will the team grow."
Ankeet revealed that he has shared whatever he has learned with his time in India A and Delhi Daredevils to his teammates in the Maharashtra team.
He says, "I have shared the details of what kind of food habits to adopt. Some of them who can, follow it. Rest don't. I can't keep a tab on each one of them or force them to do anything. I don't want to keep the knowledge with myself, I like to share it. But beyond that, it also depends on how much they wish to pick up from someone else's training methods."
Talking about some of the cricketers working hard on their looks and hairstyles, Bawane said, "Nothing but cricket matters. Your looks and body aren't going to get you fans. We have followers on Instagram only because of the runs we score, nothing else.”
Even as the talk revolves around IPL, he changes the track again: "IPL is important, no doubt. But my sole motivation is to play for India. Guys like Shreyas and Rishabh have already started getting a look in the national team. I just need to stay fit, score consistently and my time will also come."