"I had given up hopes of playing in the IPL, but then I got a call from Tinu Sir who told me that Mumbai Indians had inquired about me. I just asked him if I stand any chance of getting picked," said Nidheesh, while talking to Mumbai Indians TV.
He was eventually picked on base price of Rs. 20 lakh by Mumbai Indians in the auction and he couldn't hold his excitement.
"I was informed by a media person and I didn't know how to express it. I was really excited and thankful to god and my parents," Nidheesh said, recollecting the moment.
He has been making big strides for Kerala in the domestic circuit, impressing everyone with his pace and ability to swing the ball - much like state's other star cricketer S.Sreesanth.
"He has a nice clean action and a deadly out-swinger. He can consistently clock above 145-kph and that makes him a valuable asset for any team," says his long-time coach NA Sunil, during a telephonic conversation with Cricketnext. Sunil has been with the bowler for the past 8 years.
"What stands out for me is his hardwork and dedication. If he sets himself a goal, then he goes all out to achieve it. He was desperate to seal a spot in the IPL and I am really happy that the Mumbai Indians showed faith in him. Sreesanth and Yohannan have spoken highly about him so he certainly has the talent to make it big," Sunil adds.
Former India pacer Tinu Yohannan, who is also the Kerala bowling coach has played a key role in Nideesh's development and also helped him deal with the injury.
"He had a fantastic Ranji Trophy season and was disappointed when he got injured. He missed important tournaments(Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy) but we made him go through the rehab, he was called for the Kerala camp (Vijay Hazare Trophy) to Chennai and there he showed a lot of improvement," says Yohannan.
He feels his maturity and clarity of thought will hold him in good deed going ahead.
"He has a good head on his shoulders and executes the plans well. He needs someone to show faith in him and he can deliver. If he can maintain the consistency he showed in Ranji Trophy, then he will surely be in contention for the national call-up," Yohannan adds.
Though this might be his first stint with an IPL team, Nidheesh was earlier a net bowler for Kochi Tuskers Kerala. There, he had rattled the likes of VVS Laxman, Kedar Jadhav and Brendon McCullum.
In Mumbai Indians, Nidheesh will be sharing the dressing room with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins, Mustafizur Rahman and Mitchell McClenaghan while working under the watchful eyes of former New Zealand great Shane Bond.
Yohannan backs his ward to come back stronger from the experience.
"I think he might play a couple of games but even if he doesn't he will learn a lot from the experience of sharing the dressing room with such big names. He will return as a much better bowler for sure," says Yohannan.
A lot of people in Kerala will be watching to see if Nidheesh can indeed live up to the expectations and carry on the state's legacy of producing high quality fast bowlers.
First Published: April 7, 2018, 11:14 AM IST