India vs Sri Lanka: Deepak Hooda relishing T20I opportunity after Ranji high
The 22-year-old Deepak Hooda, who was named in India’s three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka starting December 20, is among a few new faces in the national side along with Basil Thampi and Washington Sundarindia vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 05, 2017 23:12 IST
A little over a month after Deepak Hooda was awarded Baroda’s captaincy in Ranji Trophy following the axing of Irfan Pathan, the all-rounder received the biggest news of his fledgling career on Monday.
The 22-year-old Hooda, who was named in India’s three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka starting December 20, is among a few new faces in the national side along with Basil Thampi and Washington Sundar.
“I was not thinking about it,” Hooda told Hindustan Times in an exclusive chat. “The credit goes to my family and coaches; they have supported me a lot. My coaches Atul Bedade and Ajit Bhoite’s influence has resulted in me developing a better game sense,” Hooda said.
“Initially, captaincy was tough. But I feel my maturity levels have gone up,” Hooda said after leading Baroda in four matches this Ranji season.
Baroda did not make it to the Ranji quarterfinals, but Hooda enjoyed a ‘decent’ season with the bat scoring 277 runs in four matches at 46.16 with one century and two fifties. “The First-Class season was not so good, it was decent I would say,” expressed Hooda.
Hooda, however, acknowledged that it were his stints with India A against New Zealand and in the IPL, with Sunrisers Hyderabad, which bolstered his chances for national call-up.
“I know I am being looked upon as an all-rounder. Selectors have told me this time and again. The stints with India A and IPL have helped,” he said.
“I spent 2-3 years with Rahul Dravid and Paddy Upton (at Rajasthan Royals). Mental improvement got a lot of emphasis there. (At SRH) VVS Laxman, I must say, helped me through ups and downs. He supported me a lot. Tom Moody would motivate me; ‘you have the caliber’ is something they all used to say. Even Swapnil Singh (Baroda vice-captain), who is my 3am-friend,” Hooda revealed.
Hooda, who will now join the race to establish himself as an all-rounder in the Indian team with Hardik Pandya holding his spot firmly, says, “Everyone talks about mental strength, I feel it is the most important aspect for any player to adapt between formats.”
Bedade, who played 13 ODIs for India in mid 1990s and took over as Baroda coach in August 2017, has seen Hooda’s growth from close quarters. “I am not surprised to see him being selected in the Indian cricket team,” asserted Bedade.
“This is the right time; he has done very well, has captained his team and has grown responsible. He has the hunger to perform, he has been through his journey from a young boy to a man,” Bedade added.