Keshav Bansal (above) owned Gujarat Lions will be led by Suresh Raina in IPL 9 © AFP
Keshav Bansal (above) owned Gujarat Lions will be led by Suresh Raina in IPL 9 © AFP

Keshav Bansal became the youngest owner in the Indian Premier League (IPL) when he acquired the newly-formed Rajkot Franchise, which eventually was named Gujarat Lions. Bansal made a good beginning, ahead of the auction, when he picked Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith in the IPL player draft. He then strengthened his team by adding to his tally of good buys during the IPL Auction 2016. He has also invested in many young Indian talents and  has purchased a few exciting overseas talent.  Pramod Ananth had a brief chat with Bansal, who shared his experience of being in his first-ever IPL auction, strategies of the Lions and more, after the IPL auction. READ: Gujarat Lions (GL) team in IPL 2016: Lions have bases covered ahead of IPL 9

How was your experience being in your first-ever IPL auction?

The experience was fantastic. We are all cricket lovers and it’s a fantastic sport. There are lovely people around, cricket is a religion, we all love cricket, I’m personally inclined towards cricket. I’m really happy to be a part of it. Gujarat Lions team in IPL 2016 Auction Full Update

This IPL was mainly about many Indian players, who went for high prices. How much of research did you do ahead of the auction?

You need to have a great deal of homework done before the auction and you need to sort your basics. We had done a fair bit of homework and we had planned things. I’m very happy with the way things have turned out. READ: Gujarat Lions in IPL 2016: Know your team

Ishan Kishan [Purchased by Gujarat lions for Rs. 35 Lakhs] is the captain of India Under-19 team, have you watched him play?

Yes, of course. He is playing some fantastic cricket and he is a young talent. So, I think we need to promote him and take him further.

How satisfied are you with your foreign purchases like Aaron Finch, Dale Steyn and others?

I’m extremely satisfied. We’ve got the best and the biggest of the names. They are considered big names because they have been performing well. I think we have got them at the right price and that is something that was extremely important. READ: IPL 2016 Auction: Aaron Finch sold for Rs. 1 crore to Gujarat Lions

How have Suresh Raina and Brad Hodge influenced you in buying the players?

It’s not about influence. It is about team strategies and discussions which we have been having for a long time. Both Suresh [Raina] and Braddy [Brad Hodge] have been an integral part of it. They have been taking most of the decisions so I give all credit to them. They have been doing a fantastic job.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)