Ajinkya Rahane has managed to surprise even himself with his smashing form in the IPL so far and the young Rajasthan Royals batsman says the entire experience has been like living a dream.
The smashing right-hander has tapered off in the last three games with scores of 17, 0 and 5 but he remains second only to Chris Gayle among the batting heavyweights with 480 runs at 43.63 in the competition.
Nobody has hit more fours (63) than him and only two others, besides him, have hit centuries.
The 24-year-old Mumbaikar weighed his recent success and the reasons behind it, as well as the opportunities which would follow in its wake.
"Well, it has come as a surprise. I have only done my part and the rest has been destiny. To top the charts in a competition like IPL is really a proud achievement for me. But I would have really loved to see my team to be in a better position than it is," he said.
Rahane played for Mumbai Indians as well which, at the time, was a team full of stars before moving to Rajasthan Royals, a team not with many big names. "Actually I was learning a lot in Mumbai Indians with my idol Sachin paaji around, but then wasn't getting many chances.
"Here in RR, things were different, I had a role to play, there were expectations from me. And also I was happy to be around my other idol, Rahul Dravid. It's a pleasure talking cricket to Rahul bhai," he explained.
Standing by the wall
Talking about Dravid, how did it feel making his Twenty20 debut in the same game as Dravid against England? "Once India was playing a Test in Mumbai where I was glad to be a ball boy to catch a glimpse of my heroes Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid," he said.
"I did see them closely but if I had a mobile phone in those times I would have clicked some pictures as well. In fact I was too shy to speak to them. And here I was making my T20 debut with Rahul Dravid.
"It is difficult to describe. I remember MS Dhoni, Sachin paaji and Rahul bhai talking to me before the game and telling me that I am playing for India because I deserve to," he added.
Asked how his life changed since that day, Rahane said he remains the same person but values the money he earns now.
"I'm the same Ajinkya for everyone around me. But coming from a lower-middle class family, I did understand the value of money.
"Sometimes I feel as if I am dreaming."