Image from Kerala Cricket Association
Image from Kerala Cricket Association

Sachin Baby, Kerala’s newest IPL star

Sachin Baby – The young elegant left hander from Kerala has marked his presence in this year’s Indian Premier League with the mighty Royal challengers Bangalore. Sachin was successful in keeping a place for himself in a team which has lots of big names.

He may not have the backing of huge runs behind him like Ab Divillers or Virat Kohli. But certainly was instrumental behind RCB’s success story this year. We also saw Sachin, a very under rated bowler taking important wickets. Even Virat showed faith in this young lad from Kerala. The first Malayalee to play the IPL finals, Sachin Baby shares his IPL experiences with The Kochi Post reporter, Unnikrishnan R.

Sachin, it was an excellent more over a memorable season for you with the RCB in IPL this year. How was your experience with RCB?

Unfortunately, I missed the last two editions of the IPL after being part of Rajasthan Royals in 2013. It was good to have a come back to the format, that too with the team which has such a huge bulk of star players.  I was able to impress the management when I went there for the selection trials.

I was lucky enough to score 40 odd runs in almost all the trails. Coach Daniel Vettori and assistants were impressed with me and said that they will keep track on me. And soon after the auctions when I was picked, Daniel Vettori, the coach messaged me saying, “Welcome to RCB”.

If we sum up the entire IPL, the one scene that is still in the mind of game lovers is that of you in the final. Actually what made you break down to tears?

When I went to bat we only needed 40 or 50 runs with lots of good hitters to follow. I was confident about our batting. Watson was there at the other end when I was there.  We all know how destructive Stuart Binny can be. Even in the last over it was just 18 runs that we needed. But some miss hits happened.

More than the defeat what made me emotional was the fact that RCB is just like a family. Virat’s energy and inspirational talks where really awesome. We have given our best for the team. Wherever we go the only thing that was there in our mind was to lift the cup. So when that didn’t happen, I was emotional.

Have you been under any pressure while playing alongside with likes of Gayle, Divillers, Virat and Watson?

Not actually. On the field the only thing in our mind is about the team total and doing everything for the team. But there were some moments while playing in the nets, I felt the pressure. These big names would be watching our games so closely. It adds some extra pressure to showcase our best in the nets.

About the ‘complete batsman’ Ab Divillers?

We could find the value of a batsman while batting with AB. Such a top player helps us and guides on how to build the innings properly, it was a privilege to have the presence of such players.

We get to learn more when something is shown rather than taught.  I have batted three times with AB and out of that in two matches we were able to build 100 plus partnerships. He complements me very well once a good shot is played.

One thing everyone noticed about Sachin is the willingness to take quick singles and even to make one’s into twos and two’s to threes. While you were batting with Virat, Gayle or even Ab there was not even a single confusion. How you understands the batsmen in this aspect?

We understand each of us. The likes of Virat and Ab don’t have any hesitation to turn on for singles.  The mind of the non-striker should work as like the batsmen. And the important thing is eye contact.

Virat as a captain was remarkable for RCB. How would you rate him?

His captaincy is very much aggressive. Off the field or on the field he is very friendly and especially he backs and supports youngsters very well. He just have one motto – hard work. For a young side we need such captains like Virat. Virat always leads the team from the front.

Literally you kept out players like Sarfaraz Khan and Kedar Jadav to be in the playing eleven. How you were backed up by the captain?

Mostly, the time when I and Virat come to net is same. So he observes me very keenly. He knows the effort I am placing, whether in the case of batting or fielding. So before the Hyderabad match Virat came to me and said, “You are playing the next game. And I don’t care how much runs you score. But you should give me 120 percent on the field”. I said “yes, I will do it”. So it was personally a very fulfilling moment.

Training under Biju George had how much influence on your batting?

How I rate a coach is, whether he will be there with you even in your bad phase. So even when I was made to wait in the reserves, Biju sir told me that I will get a chance and I should utilise it completely. If I score a century or half, he doesn’t get excited. But during the time of setbacks he will be always there to lift me.

Recently Sreesanth has tweeted that you will be the next player to represent the national team from the state. Your response?

Sree has always been very supportive towards me. He is just like a brother for me. He used to teach me each and every things a professional cricketer should be aware of and all. I am so close with Sree’s family also. I am like his little brother.

If we take the RCB team, who was your bestie there?

It’s more like friends than a single friend. I and KL Rahul are best buddies. It was a coincidence that while we were batting against the Mumbai Indians, there were tweets saying, “good to see Rahul and Sachin padded up again’. Gayle was very friendly; Virat, Ab, Chris Jordan and everyone was having a good friendship circle out there.

With all the experiences you had now, how you are looking forward for the next domestic season with Kerala?

 Training camps are on the way these days. We have a lot of youngsters waiting in the picture. We have coach, P. Balachandran sir who is very experienced and helpful to the youngsters. Looking forward to it positively and hope it would be good season for the team.

Photograph from Kerala Cricket Association.

More Stories
Meanwhile In Kerala