Shashank Singh did not have a bright season for Mumbai in List A cricket, but his all-round ability and recent club record especially in the DY Patil T20 Cup was enough to fetch him big moolah at the T20 Mumbai League players auction on Saturday.
The 26-year-old was at a base price of Rs 1 lakh , but received aggressive bidding from as many as four franchises, before Mumbai North East, owned by Transcon Developers, had him for Rs 5 lakh. The amount was well above a couple of icon players and matched that of icon player Shreyas Iyer. Jay Bista and Shivam Dubey also got Rs 5 lakh, but they were in first class players list starting at base price of Rs 1.50 lakh.
“I was expecting around Rs 3.50 lakh considering the (Rs 35 lakh) spending cap teams had. It was a pleasant surprise,” said Singh, who played four games for Mumbai this season in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 Trophy in Rajkot and Kolkata, albeit without much success. He was in Vijay Hazare squad initially, but didn’t get to play and was dropped for the knockout stages.
Singh though was a consistent performer at club level cricket, and feels the talent scouts from different franchises noticed these performances.
“I had a good season at club level cricket. I scored 1,480 runs during the season, with two double hundreds and four tons. The team owners seem to have taken note of my performances. In the recently concluded DY Patil T20 Cup I made 170 runs in five games and took six wickets,” said Singh, who represented hosts DY Patil Sports Academy ‘B’, which lost to eventual champions Reliance 1 in the semi-final.
He is now looking forward to play in the inaugural T20 Mumbai League, which is finally kicking off from March 11.
“We had our first training session with the team, and I am looking for a fresh start. It will be a great atmosphere if the wickets are good at Wankhede stadium, the action is televised and crowds come in numbers. We have a good team led by Suryakumar Yadav, and our main motive is to win the tournament. Atul Ranade is a good coach and we have a great team mentor in Lalchand Rajput. We are all excited about the tournament,” he said. Mumbai North East also have experienced pacer Dhawal Kulkarni and all-rounder Akash Parkar in their ranks. Both are currently recuperating from injuries, though.
Shashank isn’t new to franchise cricket, as he was bought by Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Daredevils last year at a base price of Rs 10 lakh. The team led by Zaheer Khan and coached by Rahul Dravid also had the likes of his Mumbai team-mates Iyer and Aditya Tare. Singh didn’t get to play then but soaked in the top franchise atmosphere amidst big players.
“It was a great experience for me to interact with Rahul Dravid and learn from him. I also got to know where I stand fitness wise,” he said.
Mumbai North East team owner Jai Kedia felt Shashank is an aggressive all-rounder and his presence will balance the squad. “Singh has proved that he is a utility player with his handy bowling while also hitting the long ball when needed,” said Kedia whose team bought Yadav for Rs 7 lakh. Singh, ultimately was the second most expensive player for them.