Winning 4th trophy for MI is Tajinder’s dream

Tajinder Singh Dhillon is the name to remember for future; not just because he is an explosive batting all-rounder, but because of his determination to make it big in every opportunity he gets. His performances have been phenomenal in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and he is willing to carry forward the same form in the fast approaching VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018. There’s a little more than a month to go before the tournament starts, but Tajinder has already started sweating it out in the MI camp. “The preparations are going really well. I have been training in the Mumbai Indians camp for the last 15 days, and there is a family atmosphere here, which has made playing more enjoyable.”

Tajinder’s experience with the Mumbai Indians training camp has been quite different from the camps he has attended earlier in his career and the fact that he mentioned ‘family atmosphere’ has a connection with it. “By the family atmosphere, I mean, whatever things you need, they are provided immediately. That is the family atmosphere. If you're at home and feeling hungry, you immediately tell that to your mother. When you can't find something you’re looking for, you always ask your mother to find it; it becomes helpful that way. In a similar way, whenever I need something here, I reach out to Prashant bhai and he will say that it will be provided to you. Similarly, whenever I have asked something from Rahul sir, I have received it.”

Apart from the comfort provided for the players, Tajinder also thinks that conditions like these help the player grow in every aspect. He is indeed a talented player, but whatever is needed to stretch the limits of these players and sharpen their skills, is provided at MI camp. “Now as we are practicing, we are getting to learn a lot from players like Saurabh (Tiwary). With such positivity all around, it feels like everything is happening to make me a better player. The coaches are always there, bowling with you, standing with you, explaining every little thing. They really want you to do well and succeed.”

It is impossible to be a MI player and not have any dreams. Tajinder is no different when it comes to ambitions. He is an all-rounder and he has seen all-rounders like Hardik Pandya flourish in the squad. His dreams are crystal clear, realistic and he is determined to see them come true. “MI have won the IPL 3 times, and I hope we win it for the 4th time - that's my expectation since I am a part of the team now. I hope that I will have a big role to play in that. Just like Hardik, Pat Cummins, Pollard - all these all-rounders, I hope that next year people will say, Tajinder is an all-rounder who plays for Mumbai Indians, and hopefully, also for India.”

Tajinder will bowl to the likes Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Evin Lewis in the MI camp, while he will also be facing bowlers like Pat Cummins and Jasprit Bumrah. Playing with them will give him a fair idea what the tournament is going to be like. “I would love to bowl to Rohit, he is the 'Hitman'. I enjoy thinking about how to stop him from hitting sixes. If I can stop him from hitting sixes, then I know that I will rarely get hit by any other batsman in the world. Also, (Evin) Lewis is a great opening batsman. He is left-handed, so bowling an off-spin to him is a good opportunity for me. He is a hard-hitter, just like Gayle.

He has been studying these players and the other big hitters from the other teams. He believes in preparing beforehand and not to leave anything for the last moment. “I have already started (working on it). I watch videos of cricketers and the matches; I watch them for all players, and not just Rohit, Evin or Pollard. I have been studying the games of other players even before I was picked by MI. I like to think about my shot selection or the kind of ball that I would bowl in that particular situation.”

Post auction, he was extremely excited about the fact that he will get to play at Wankhede Stadium. Indeed, for a hard-hitter like Tajinder, playing at Wankhede would be a feast. However, thinking about playing in the electric atmosphere with thousands of fans cheering in sync, nervousness can’t be contained. “I am excited, as well as nervous. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about playing in front of the home crowd. That feeling itself is difficult to express in words. With all the mentors like Sachin sir, Robin sir & Jayawardene sir alongside, I can be assured I don’t get distracted by that nervousness and pressure. Also, the pitch at Wankhede has red soil, so it will be easy to hit sixes there, certainly making it enjoyable to play home games.”

Ever since Tajinder has been a part of the MI squad, Paltan is getting curious to know more about him. The internet searches and the mentions clearly prove that. Tajinder is indeed excited to perform in front of the Paltan, but before that, he also has a message for them. “I saw that a lot of people have termed me as the 'next Bhajji'. I would want to say to all the MI fans that I am a batting all-rounder, who can bowl smart off-spin balls. I am known as a hard-hitter in my state who can hit long sixes, and now, I would want to hit long sixes for Mumbai Indians as well.”

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