‘That's it, it’s over. I will end my career…': RCB star cries, says he wanted to retire before this IPL | Crickit
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‘That's it, it’s over. I will end my career…': RCB star cries, says he wanted to retire before this IPL

May 21, 2024 03:37 PM IST

RCB spin-bowling all-rounder Swapnil Singh considered ending his cricket career after going unsold in the first round of auctions for IPL 2024.

Swapnil Singh's maiden IPL wicket was MS Dhoni in 2016 when he was probably enjoying the best time of his career. He got his first IPL contract with the Kings XI Punjab (Now Punjab Kings) after having a breakthrough season with Baroda at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. A dream beginning, isn't it? Yes, but it fizzled away soon. His career never quite took off in the IPL. He warmed the benches in the Mumbai Indians before getting lost in the wilderness.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Swapnil Singh, centre, celebrates with teammates(AP)
Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Swapnil Singh, centre, celebrates with teammates(AP)

He was again picked up by the Lucknow Super Giants in IPL 2023 but got to play only two games where he went wicketless. After being released by the LSG at the end of last year's season, Swapnil revealed he contemplated retirement. Things, however, changed when Royal Challengers Bengaluru picked him up at the auction before the 17th edition. Swapnil said it was an emotional moment for him and his family.

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“The day of the IPL auction I was travelling to Dharamsala for a game. It was around 7-8 pm after I landed. Nothing had happened by then and the last rounds were on. When I missed out at first, I thought that’s it. Frankly I thought it was all over,” Swapnil said.

“I thought I would play out the ongoing (domestic) season, and if needed, I would end my career after playing the next season because I did not want to keep playing all my life. There are other things to do well in life as well. I was very disappointed,” Swapnil told RCB Bold Diaries.

Life has never been the same for the spin-bowling all-rounder. He made his RCB debut in Hyderabad last month and has since been part of each of their six smashing wins on the trot.

“As soon as my family called, we broke down. Because no one else understands how emotional the journey has been," said the veteran cricketer, who had made his senior domestic debut back in 2006 as a teenager and also shared rooms with Virat Kohli at age-group level.

Swapnil credits RCB head coach Andy Flower

Swapnil has taken six wickets in as many games at an economy rate of 8.8. He credited RCB head coach Andy Flower for keeping the faith in him in the lead-up to the auction. Swapnil had impressed Flower as a net bowler earlier, and the coach asked him to come for an RCB training camp.

“Before RCB picked me in the auction, they had organized a trial-cum-camp. I spoke to Andy sir and told him all about how my (domestic) season had gone. I told him, ‘Just give me one chance. This might be my last chance. Just have faith in me.’ He told he had faith in me. He called me for the camp,” Swapnil said.

When he entered the RCB dressing room, Swapnil knew he would get the opportunity to play eventually, and was mentally prepared to wait for his chance.

“I never entered the ground thinking that I am not playing. My first practice session was the first match for me, it was not just a practice session. I knew that I would have to be on target from ball one if I had to play even one game. So, nets was my match,” Swapnil said.

And when the opportunity came, Swapnil grabbed it with both hands, eager to contribute with both bat and ball. “I would tell my brother that I have neither scored a four nor a six in the IPL, and I have taken only one wicket. So I really want to hit a four and a six.”

As it turned out, Swapnil made an impact right away on RCB debut. He hit a six and a four in an unbeaten 12 off 6, and also picked up a couple of wickets. “I knew that if I got a chance to play, our captain Faf (du Plessis) would definitely give me an over to bowl. And in my first over, I did not bowl six balls, I bowled seven. I did not know I would bowl a no-ball. And I got a wicket off the seventh ball, so it is god’s blessings."

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