Pawan Negi was brought for a whooping Rs. 8.5 crores by Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2016 auction © AFP
Pawan Negi was brought for a whooping Rs. 8.5 crores by Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2016 auction © AFP

Pawan Negi took the world by storm when he was purchased for Rs. 8.5 crores by Delhi Daredevils (DD) for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016. He also made his India debut, when he took field against United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Asia Cup T20 2016. To everyone’s surprise, he was picked for the T20I series against Sri Lanka and consequently for the Asia Cup and ICC World T20 2016. Negi speaks to Pramod Ananth about his role in DD, his maiden call-up in the Indian team, his goals for the upcoming season and more. READ: Asia Cup T20 2016: Indian team, MS Dhoni kept my nerves calm, says Pawan Negi

CricketCountry (CC): You were bought for 8.5 crores in the IPL 2016 auction. Does that put extra pressure on you when you perform for Delhi Daredevils?

Pawan Negi (PN): No, there’s absolutely no pressure. I don’t think about the 8.5 crores. I just focus on my work. Whatever the role given to me by my team, I do. Never thought about the money.

CC: You have played alongside players like MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina in Chennai Super Kings (CSK), you are playing with new set of players at DD. How has your experience been?

PN: It has been a good experience. At CSK I played with many international cricketers, including the Indian captain. So, my cricket improved a lot. DD is a team of youngsters and it feels nice playing with all of them. We also share our experience, so it’s a lot of fun.

CC: How do you rate Zaheer Khan as a captain? Do you enjoy playing under him?

PN: He is a calm captain. He gives players opportunity to give their best. So, it’s very nice to play under him.

CC: There are many players who are of your age group – like Shreyas Iyer, Quinton de Kock and Rishabh Pant. How has your experience been playing with them?

PN: These group of players are very talented. De Kock is such a good player that it is  fun to see him bat. Even Rishabh Pant is a good batsman and it fun watching him bat as well.

CC: Your have been batting at No.6 for DD. Would you like to bat higher up the order?

PN: Definitely. If I’m asked to open, I’ll do that as well (laughs). I’ll bat wherever the team wants me to bat.

CC: How did it feel to play your first ever international match? Did you expect to play against UAE in the Asia Cup T20?

PN: I was picked for the Sri Lanka series as well ahead of the Asia Cup. I was just waiting for my chance ever since. I got an opportunity to play against UAE. There was pressure initially as it was my first international game. But as I started interacting more with my teammates, things became normal.

CC: What goals have you set for yourself for the upcoming season? Is playing for Delhi more and performing well your main goal?

PN: Yes, this is the goal. As soon as IPL gets over, I’ll start practicing for First-Class cricket. I don’t get many games for Delhi, but if I’m picked I’ll try my best to do well.

CC: Your elder sister Babita too has played for Delhi. How did the two siblings end up taking cricket as their profession?

PN: I had started playing cricket right from my childhood. We used to practice in the same college Babita studied. She started watching us play and developed an interest in cricket after which she started playing.

CC: When you were named in the Indian team for the very first time, what were you doing at that point? What was your reaction when you heard the news?

PN: I was at home. I was actually sleeping. The squad was announced at around 3 in the afternoon and I was asleep at that point. My friends had rung me up after hearing the news. I couldn’t believe that I was selected. Then I read the news and it felt great seeing my name.

CC: Players like Ravindra Jadeja and Akshar Patel are similar to you. They are spin bowling all-rounders. What would you like to do differently in the upcoming seasons to make sure you get noticed?

PN: I don’t want to do anything different. Jadeja is performing well, so is Akshar.  My only aim is to give my 100 percent, if I am given a chance in the upcoming matches, be it batting, bowling or fielding.

CC: Do you see yourself as a batting all-rounder or bowling all-rounder?

PN: I’m just an all-rounder. It’s for the team to determine how they see me.

CC: Do you like batting or bowling?

PN: I like both. I always keep my focus on both departments.

(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)