Chirag Suri with Sachin Tendulkar. The UAE’s young opener, who has been picked by the Gujarat Lions for the IPL, has had the privilege of sharing the dressing room with some of cricket’s greats. Image Credit: Pictures courtesy: Gujarat Lions

Dubai: UAE’s young opener Chirag Suri, who got picked by the Indian Premier League’s Gujarat Lions, is living his dream. He has not only been able to share the dressing room with some of the greats in his team but is also practicing along with them. He has been constantly picking the brains of the successful players in the game and closely watched their attitude towards every match they play. All of this has been a special experience for Suri.

If that was not enough, Suri also got to meet legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli and talked to them briefly. Suri, who in an interview with Gulf News in 2012 after being recognised as the best batsman in inter-school cricket had remarked that it was his dream to play in the IPL, is cherishing these moments. To rub shoulders with the greats of the game and also experience the IPL ambience is something that he’d have fantasised about every day while working on his skills.

Suri met with Indian captain Virat Kohli after the Gujarat Lions match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday. Speaking to Gulf News, Suri said: “After Kohli played the match-winning knock of 64, he posed with me with a thumbs-up sign and wanted to know if I was from Delhi, although I lived in Dubai. On learning that I was born in Delhi, we talked about Delhi for a while.”

At the Wankhede Stadium during Gujarat Lions’ match against Mumbai Indians, Suri met Tendulkar who asked him to be seated for a picture, and so did Dhoni during the Rising Pune Supergiant match in Rajkot. “Dhoni advised me that the path to success comes when you believe in your abilities and your strengths.”

Suri has also interviewed his colleague James Faulkner and Dwayne Bravo for the Gujarat Lions website. “Brendon McCulllum’s advice was that the intent while batting must be to get on top of bowlers from the first ball. By merely watching the top players in my team, I have picked up things like positive intent to technical stuff.”

Suri is thrilled that his skipper Suresh Raina often talks to him about technique. “I’ve had many conversations with Raina; he shares a lot his thoughts and gives tips to all youngsters in our team. He spoke about his trademark cover shot, and told me that it was important to keep the head as still as possible while watching the ball rather than hit it hard during the first six overs.”

About the crowds in the stadium, the youngster noted that “the atmosphere is amazing and electrifying. The buzz and vibes really charge you up. Yes, it does put you under pressure as well, but it also pushes you to work hard.

“Every morning I see McCullum and Jason Roy in the gym. The manner in which they sweat it out is very inspiring. Then they take a dip in the pool to cool down and relax their muscles. In case a match has not gone well, we sit together, review and plan out tactics to address challenges in our next game. I’ve realised that is important to stay positive, happy, and enjoy the game,” added Suri.