The past three months have been something of roller-coaster for Punit Bisht. The diminutive Delhi stumper has just come off a superb Ranji trophy season which was crowned by a fluent double hundred against traditional powerhouse Baroda. The exhilaration of his fluent batting though has been tempered by the fact that Delhi did not make the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy nor could North Zone to get past the first hurdle in the Duleep Trophy.
Bisht however has reasons to smile. He has been offered a 1 year contract (with the option to extend it by a year) by IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils. Bisht. The contract though was some time in coming. Bisht broke into the Delhi side when he was barely 20 and then has proceeded to remain Delhi’s first choice wicketkeeper for the last five seasons but was not picked up by any of the IPL franchises. This season he scored 502 runs,pouched 21 catches which virtually forced the Daredevils’ to offer him a contract.
Bisht admits that he did feel a bit left out when others in the Delhi dressing room spoke of their IPL experiences. Even young guys who had come into the team after me had IPL contracts. Bisht feels that the advice given to him by senior players was really helpful. People like Ashish bhai and Gautam Gambhir have been talking to me,they told me to just concentrate on the game and if I did that a contract would soon follow. said Bisht.
Bisht who was hailed as Vijay Dahiya’s successor at the time of his debut feels that this season might just change the trajectory of his career. I have gotten this chance and now I am just thinking of putting in good performances. IPL has seen the rise of many players and I want to be counted among them. said Bisht.
Delhi coach,Sanjeev Sharma is of the view that Bisht is a hardworking player who has just begun to get his due. Over the past couple of seasons,Bisht has been scoring runs but as luck would have it,he has been overshadowed by his more illustrious teammates like Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir. I have scored 4 hundreds in the Ranji Trophy but every time someone else has hit the headlines, said Bisht.
Back to the basics
However,Bisht didnt have a good time at least initially in the Ranji trophy either. After three lean matches against Haryana,Gujarat and Tamil Nadu when he had a top score of 53,Bisht had a 10 day break before Delhi played Baroda. Bisht went back to the drawing board. Run nahi ban rahe the,kuch galat kar raha tha, Bisht worked on his basics and then came back strongly to hit that career changing double hundred.
Commenting on the acquisition of Bisht,Delhi Daredevils mentor TA Sekar said that the team was very happy to have signed the stumper. We have been following Bisht for the past couple of seasons and judging by his current form,we thought this was the right time to offer him an IPL contract.said Sekar. The franchise however declined from stating the monetary value of the contract awarded to the stumper.
Sekar further added,Punit Bisht has performed well on the domestic front,he is an attacking batsman and a sound glovesman. Daredevils already have Madhya Pradesh stumper Naman Ojha in the squad and Bisht’s acquisition has been seen to be one that will provide cover. However Sekar is of the opinion that both ‘keepers will start off as equals and pre-season performances would be the best indicator of who gets to stand behind the stumps in the IPL.
(Chinmay Brahme is a student of The Express Institute of Media Studies)