Undergoing a brilliant run with the bat, across formats, N Jagadeesan was rewarded for his consistency in the domestic circuit when Kolkata Knight Riders bought him at the recent IPL 2023 mini-auction in Kochi. KKR opened the bidding at Rs 20 lakh, Chennai Super Kings, who had earlier released the wicketkeeper-batsman, joined in and the two were at it before the sum reached Rs 90 lakh.
CSK bailed out and let go of the stumper who was part of their set-up from 2018 to 2022. There wasn’t much game time during the tenure but the 27-year-old forged a bond for life. In CSK assistant coach and former Australia great Mike Hussey, Jagadeesan found a true well-wisher and someone who continues to remain in touch with him.
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“When I was in the CSK dugout, I was having a lot of conversations with Mike Hussey and he is someone I have idolised for a very long time. Working with him… you know he had a lot of conversations with me. Even when I am not part of the IPL and domestic season is on, he is always in touch with me. He talks to me well,” Jagadeesan told reporters ahead of Ranji Trophy fixture between Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
During his time at CSK, Jagadeesan featured in only seven games and returned with 73 runs from the fixtures. While game time eluded the right-hander for four years, conversations with Hussey outside the field continue to be cherished.
“The bond with Mike Hussey is exceptionally good. We have always been on the same page and I am someone who would blindly trust Mike Hussey because I know for a fact that he is a well-wisher for me and he wants me to do well. No matter if I was playing in the CSK team or not, he always had time to come and speak with me. Give me a lot of tips,” said Jagadeesan.
Eight matches, 830 runs and five hundreds. Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022 was all about N Jagadeesan as the aggressive opener scored runs, and tons, for fun and smashed plenty of records. The consistency was right up there and a word of appreciation from ‘Mr. Cricket’ Hussey made it even more sweet. Revisiting the conversations with the Australian veteran, the 27-year-old had a twinkle in the eye and said those pep talks remain a “big motivating factor”.
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“It’s not about talking very technical terms, it’s just telling you ‘well done mate’. If that comes from stature of Mike Hussey, that’s definitely a big note for me. I get goosebumps when I talk about that. I mean he is too big a person and too big a cricketer. When he tells me I have done something good, when he tells me ‘you have done well’, ‘your scores have been pretty good’, it’s definitely a big motivating factor. When he sees me in person, looks at my batting then he gives me technical advice as well,” said Jagadeesan.
After four long years with CSK, mostly on the bench, Jagadeesan will move base to the Kolkata Knight Riders for the upcoming edition and is likely to get proper game time with the two-time IPL winners. Litton Das and Rahmanullah Gurbaz are the other two stumpers in the KKR squad but Jagadeesan is the only Indian option and that could well tilt the scale in his favour.
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