The Indian Premier League ((IPL) 2024 auction made some raw talents in the game millionares as franchises lined up with big bids for future stars. One such name was that of wicket-keeper batter Kumar Kushagra who joined Delhi Capitals for a whopping fee of Rs. 7.20 crore. The Capitals had to fend off competition from Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans for the stumper’s services. After seeing his son land a huge contract, Kumar Kushagra’s father revealed the promise that DC mentor Sourav Ganguly had made him after watching the young wicket-keeper batter play.
“After the trials at Eden (Gardens), Ganguly told Kushagra that he would play for the Delhi Capitals and the franchise would bid for him till Rs 10 crore,” Kushagra’s father Shashikant told The Indian Express. “At the trials, Ganguly was impressed with his six-hitting ability and ability to play the field. His keeping skills also impressed Ganguly and even told him that there is a bit of MS Dhoni in him when he whips the bails.”
Kushagra, an uncapped Indian with a base price of Rs 20 lakh, had left a lasting impression on Ganguly who was reminded of MS Dhoni seeing the young lad play. But, Shashikant felt his son might only go for his base price despite Dada’s promise.
“I thought he will get picked by Capitals at base price. For a few minutes, I was so numb. One can only think about miracles, and today was that kind of day. He was confident because Ganguly had promised him, but I thought he must have said this to encourage him,” said Shashikant.
“I had never played cricket at any level. I was just a keen follower. When he was five and started showing interest in cricket, I decided that I would coach him. A colleague suggested a book named Art and Science of Cricket by Bob Woolmer. I must have read that book at least four or five times. That book became my coach and I started training Kushagra,”he recalled.