Royston Dias’s brush with the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team was akin to the audition of any television reality show. He had the daunting task of bowling to a man called Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in the nets at the Wankhede Stadium. He bowled a bouncer first up.
Two months on, and Dias has been signed up by the Delhi Daredevils at the behest of team mentor T. A. Sekar, who was impressed by the 20-year-old left-arm pacer at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. The youngster is now sharing a dressing room with his potential Mumbai captain Ajit Agarkar, one of his idols Irfan Pathan, and one of the best fast bowlers in the world Morne Morkel.
Still, bowling to the master is the Vasai youngster’s most cherished moment.
“I used to bowl at the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground in special camps. I got a call from Sulakshan Sir [Kulkarni, Mumbai coach], to come and bowl at the Ranji nets. Master [Tendulkar] was coming to bat and it was a great moment for me. I don’t know what was running through my mind at that time, but I bowled a bouncer,” Dias told MAIL TODAY . “Sachin was very supportive and kept telling me what and where I should bowl in a match situation. He told me to concentrate on line and length and hit it consistently, to get success. It was the best moment of my life.” Dias knows there’s barely a chance he’ll get to feature in the XI, but he is keen to utilise his time with the Daredevils to pick Pathan and Morkel’s brains.
“I have a lot to learn from someone with the talent and experience of Irfan. I have two months to clarify whatever doubts I have, which will make me a better bowler,” the gangly lad said.
“Foreigners are known for their fitness, and I have a great opportunity to work with Morkel. I would love to see how he works out, how he lives off the ground, and just watch and learn.”