first_imgPawan Negi  was the toast of the cricketing world in February this year when he was bought for a record price of Rs 8.5 crore by Delhi Daredevils at the Indian Premier League auctions. Things looked bright for Negi as the big-money purchase came a day after he was selected for the Indian squads for Asia Cup and World T20 tournaments. Cut to June, Negi wears the face of a man far from the one who had grabbed all the limelight before the start of the lucrative tournament. The Delhi all-rounder had a disappointing season in IPL 9 after getting to bowl only 54 balls in nine matches this season. With the bat, he managed only 57 runs with a best of 19 this season. Negi was warming the benches for the most part of the season, in which his team finished fifth. ‘DELHI DIDN’T BACK MY SKILLS’ After not being able to do justice to his price tag, Negi blamed the Daredevils, saying the franchise failed to give him enough opportunities.  “I kept wondering why wasn’t I given more opportunities. And the team management didn’t tell me the reason either,” he told The Asian Age. Negi felt unlike Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Delhi failed to make use of his talent. He had played for the now suspended Chennai Super Kings for two seasons. Negi was Dhoni’s go-to-man at CSK. He came into prominence after a match-winning performance in the Champions League Twenty20 final in 2014. Negi picked up five wickets against Kolkata Knight Riders and won the Man of the Match award on the big night.  “When I was with CSK, Mahi bhai backed my abilities. Maybe, I feel Delhi didn’t back my skills with bat and ball. Maybe, it was a rotation policy, because I was never told that I was dropped.” Negi had been vocal about how Dhoni had helped him become a strong, thinking bowler. “When you get a supportive captain who tells you not to be frightened after being hit for six, your confidence automatically increases. In the Chennai Super Kings dressing room, Dhoni bhai would tell me exactly what his plan was for a particular batsman. In his mind, he is so clear as to what he wants from his bowler,” Negi had said earlier this year. ‘WANTED TO APPROACH ZAHEER’ Negi reveals he had mulled asking the Daredevils skipper Zaheer Khan about the lack of his opportunities. “I was about to ask why I wasn’t playing regularly ahead of our last two matches. But to my surprise, I was picked in the XI. However, I never wanted to go and ask Zaheer ‘Can I bowl?’. He is such an experienced cricketer and he knew his job.” NEGI FAILS TO MAKE THE CUT Quite a few youngsters who had been successful in the IPL season are now part of the Indian squad which will travel to Zimbabwe for a short limited-overs series. The likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Dhawal Kulkarni and Jayant Yadav earned their India call-ups after strong performances in the 20-over tournament. However, Negi who had travelled with the team in the last two tournaments, failed to make the cut. Negi felt a poor season with the Daredevils cost him a chance to tour Zimbabwe. “I wanted to perform well and ensure I get selected for the Zimbabwe series. I didn’t make the cut for the Zimbabwe series because I didn’t perform well in the IPL. Now, I will practice hard for the upcoming Ranji season,” he added. ‘WAS MENTALLY DOWN’ Negi said he was mentally bogged down after constantly watching the action from the sidelines. He added he did not have any answers when people asked him why he wasn’t playing regularly. “Sitting on the bench was hard to digest as I never expected to watch the action from the sidelines. I was mentally down, but I didn’t lose hope.  The hardest part was, before every match, I had no clue whether I would play or not. People kept asking me why I didn’t play much. I didn’t have a proper answer,” he said.advertisementlast_img

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