New Delhi:He was forced to leave his own state due to lack of opportunities and treated like an "outsider" in his adopted team, but batsman Robin Bist has not lost hope and is aiming to revive his cricket career by making the cut for the Indian Premier League.
Bist, a 22-year-old National Cricket Academy product, who left Delhi in 2006 to begin his career's second innings with Rajasthan, always dreamt of playing in the lucrative IPL since its inception in 2008 and even appeared in selection trials for Chennai Super Kings in the very same year.
"I was in talks with Chennai Super Kings in the first edition of the IPL. But luck was not on my side as I suffered ligament rupture and had a operation. When I became fully fit, lack of approach came in my way.
"After that in 2009 and 2010 editions, I was never called by any of the franchises despite making serious efforts and scoring regular runs at the domestic level. Even the Rajasthan team which I represent in Ranji matches denied me the opportunity to appear for the IPL trials. They treat me as an outsider and encouraged their local boys to go for the trials despite faring poorly in the domestic season," Bist said.
"I was never sent on trials. If I show you my track record, you will find it flawless. I play for Central Zone squad for the Duleep Trophy which is an achievement in itself, I was Rajasthan's highest run-getter in the 2008-09 Ranji season with 422 runs averaging 46.88. I am regularly getting selected for Deodhar trophy. In all four matches of Central Zone, I scored consecutive half-centuries.
"I have played for Delhi U-14, 15 and 17. I was selected for a course in NCA and Zonal Cricket Academy (ZCA). There are many players in the IPL who don't have much runs to their credit at the first-class level. They haven't played for U-15, U-17 or U-19 and still they are finding place in the IPL. One thing I can assure you I can play much better than most IPL players," said Bist who wants to play for either Delhi Daredevils or Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Bist started his career with a century for Delhi Under-14s and played in the capital until 2005-06, when he moved to Rajasthan in search of more opportunities.
He began his career with Rajasthan against a Pakistan XI ahead of the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, bowling Mohammad Yousuf and scoring a promising unbeaten 22. Bist made his first-class debut in the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season, starting off with a patient second-innings 69 in a loss against Delhi.
"That was a dream debut for me playing against Delhi in Delhi at Feroze Shah Kotla ground. The wicket was pretty wet and climate conditions were really hard. Survival was difficult.
"Delhi's big guns like captain Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Pradeep Sangwan and Virat Kohli were playing in that match. I scored 15 runs in the first innings and 69 in the second.
Selectors who were watching the match gave me good comments, even the Delhi players," Bist said.
Bist said he was reduced to a mere spectator by the DDCA officials after this and later when he shifted his base to Rajasthan, he had to live with the outsider tag.
"We were Delhi U-17 champions and I scored quite a few half centuries. At the initial level, I got the opportunities but later on it became hard to come leave apart at the higher level. Delhi cricket officials used to tell me that you have to score runs in every innings. If I missed the opportunity in one match, I would not be considered for other matches.
"I took an NOC from here and left for Rajasthan. There I was helped by Rajender Singh Nandu, secretary of Nagaur cricket association, affiliated to RCA. During a senior district tournament, I scored 685 runs in five matches that involved three centuries. Every selector said he is a good player but an outsider and so can't play for Rajasthan. I fought my place in the team.
"I was helped a lot by Mr Tarik Sinha, director of Rajasthan Future cricket academy and Nandu ji. They said we are giving you a state cricketer who has done NCA and ZCA, then why are you not selecting him?
"When I played for U-19, I was the highest run-getter in all over India scoring more than 700 runs. That left them with no other option but to retain me in the team," Bist said.
Bist also recalled how he was once denied the opportunity to play for India U-19.
"I was playing for Central Zone in Mumbai. I scored runs in all the matches. At that time head of selectors was Sanjeev Sharma who told me that your selection is definite. You played so brilliantly. But next day I was shocked to find out that my name was missing from the list. That team included Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma and others going to New Zealand and Malaysia. That was a big set back for me," he said.