But by the time – around 10:30 pm – the BCCI made the news public via its official website and social media handles, Sai Kishore was asleep. It was his Chennai Super Kings teammate Ruturaj Gaikwad who informed him about his maiden call-up to the national set-up.
A member of the five-man net-bowling contingent, Sai Kishore will accompany the regular 20-strong India squad for three ODIs and as many T20Is in the Island nation. “I got a call on Thursday afternoon, saying that I was a part of the 35-man shortlist. So, I thought that the announcement would be made in the next two to three days,” Sai Kishore, who has scalped 78 wickets for the state in 55 domestic white-ball matches, told DT Next.
“As usual, I went to bed early. Once the news broke out, Ruturaj, who has been named in the main squad, called me. That is how I got to know I was selected as a net bowler. For someone like me who is yet to make the IPL debut, this is a motivation,” said Sai Kishore.
Since Sri Lankan pitches traditionally assist slow bowlers, the selectors have stacked up the squad with as many as six frontline spinners. Set to be surrounded by masters of his craft, first-timer Sai Kishore hopes to test himself against the regulars. “I want to compete and know where I stand among the best spinners in the country. There are about 20 spinners, so I want to see where I am at. When my stint with the India team is done, I want to come out as a better player,” explained the 24-year-old.
Asked if he would look at the opportunity as a stepping stone in his pursuit of the India cap, Sai Kishore came up with an interesting response. “My goals have changed over the period of time. In the last two years, I never had a goal of getting selected to the national team,” said Sai Kishore.
“Every day, I just want to get better. That is the only goal I have. I think that such a goal would keep me motivated for a long time,” signed off Sai Kishore.