The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) is just a few weeks away and the excitement is already at an all-time high following the recently held auction in Bengaluru last month. While superstars from around the world were brought for exorbitant amounts, there were many youngsters majoritively from India who were not picked up by any of the 8 franchises, including Baba Aparajith.
Baba Aparajith was one of the players who was snubbed at the auction and not just once but 3 times over the 2-day IPL auction event. The former member of the 2012 Under-19 World Cup winning squad was justifiably disappointed at not being picked by any of the teams. Not many cricket fans would be aware that Aparajith has been part of the IPL for the past 5 season, however, in that time frame, he never made an appearance in the starting XI was only confined to the bench.
Earlier this year, Mumbai Indians called up Baba Aparajith for trial, which made the 23-year pretty confident about his chances in the auction scheduled for later that month. Speaking about his feelings regarding the call-up and the whole trial process Aparajith said, “I first thought that there would be lesser number of players but there were about 100-odd cricketers in the trials. I realised just because you have been called for trials by a franchise doesn’t mean you are in their radar. Yet, I was hopeful.”
Aparajith who is a very talented all-rounder was part of the Chennai Super Kings squad for 3 years before moving to Rising Pune Supergiant for 2 years. In those 5 years, even though he was match ready, he was hardly given a chance to showcase his abilities, which left him fairly disappointed but he understood that his job was to work according to the team management’s decisions and therefore he never questioned their decision.
“I never asked anybody why I didn’t get a chance. I understand situations. I always respect the team’s decision even if I’m slightly disappointed at missing out on playing. But I know that the team would definitely have a reason in not picking me in the eleven,” explained Aparajith.
In the 2012 Under-19 World Cup Final, Aparajith finished with 33 runs and a wicket to show for his efforts. He was regarded by few as the next big thing in Indian cricket. However, the recent snub at the auction has left the Tamil Nadu cricketer very disappointed. Speaking about his mindset following the auction, Aparajith said, “I was confident that some team would pick me given that I was with a couple of IPL teams for five years. I felt some side would bid for me. But I felt disappointed. Had I played and went unsold, I would term it a reality check. But I never got a game and didn’t get picked now. That was disappointing.”
After seeing the former Under-19 star warming the bench for all of the 5 seasons, many experts believed that his game was much more suited to the 50-over game. However, Aparajith himself believes that categorizing players in groups without giving them a fair chance is not fair. “Such talks (branding him as a long-format cricketer) are there. You can certainly judge a player based on his game. However, you cannot judge that he can’t suit other formats without actually testing him. I know I can do it in T20s and I can’t do much about what others think about it. I’m not saying I’m a T20 specialist. But I have certainly become a better T20 cricketer and I’m improving,” he concluded in the end.