History was created when Gujarat Lions acquired the services of Indian-born UAE cricketer Chirag Suri as he became the first cricketer from UAE to attract a deal in the biggest T20 league in the world.
Though Chirag has been to India many times but this time the purpose will be different, he will have professional commitments with Gujarat Lions.
It is little-known fact that Chirag is called as the Virat Kohli of UAE and he himself is a big admirer of the Indian skipper.
In a chat with Sportzwiki, Chirag opened up about his excitement to play IPL and also about the comparison with Virat Kohli.
Here are some excerpts from the interview –
Q. Well Chirag, how does it feel to be the first cricketer from UAE to attract a bid in IPL?
A. It’s a great feeling, it’s great that we the associate cricketers are attracting bids, it’s a great feat for cricket globally and to help grow the game to more cricket loving parts like the UAE where the half the population consists of people from Asian cricket loving backgrounds.
Q. Do you feel that this might open the doors for other cricketers from UAE to attract a bid in future?
A. Absolutely, as more people are going to notice us and follow our matches which is always good. Afghanistan is also doing so well. It also helps and Rashid khan being sold for 4 Cr. is a great sign.
Q. In an interview, you said that people call you Virat Kohli of UAE. How does it feel to be such a big player in world cricket?
A. I mean just to be associated with him is an honour but he’s done something not a lot of people have and not a lot of people will be able to achieve and I’ve said this before I want to achieve big things but I’ll be very happy to achieve even a fraction of what he has.
Q. Chirag like you, Virat Kohli also hails from West Delhi. Are you looking forward to emulating his form for UAE?
A. Yes absolutely we both do hail from West Delhi, and I would love to score runs like he does, he can score runs in his sleep.
Q. Any special preparations for IPL?
A. Just do the basics, will be working on my fitness and power hitting cause the IPL demands that being such a long tournament
Q. You played an under 19 game against India under 19 on 28 December 2013. How was the feeling at that time to play against India? Were you nervous?
A. I hit the first ball for 4 in that game through covers, will remember that. Yes, nervous of course but a good nervous one that makes you focus more and keeps you on your toes.
Q. Did anyone in Indian camp know at that time that you were born in India?
A. Yes, likes of Sanju Samson, Vijay Zol and Ankush Bains. They’re all well known to me and we spent some time together when they were out here in Dubai.
Q. During your stay in India will you be going to Delhi in particular?
A. Yes, I’ve still got the family in West Delhi. I hail from Punjabi Bagh in particular and I always visit my grandfather, my grandmother is not with us anywhere but she was a huge supporter of mine throughout, broke a lot of windows when I was small.
Q. Chirag, are you excited or nervous to play in IPL?
Just very excited to play it’s going to a lot of fun, I just want to enjoy it.
Q. Chirag, to conclude, how many times you have been to India and can you speak Hindi fluently?
A. I go to India all the time and my Hindi is better than many.