Nitish Rana used to travel to the Arun Jaitley Stadium during the initial years of the Indian Premier League in order to catch a glimpse of his favorite cricketers.
Rana had never imagined that he would one day be a part of the cash-rich league. So much so that when it did turn out to be a reality in 2016 when he was picked up by the Mumbai Indians, Rana, who got the news from his friend, found it really hard to believe.
“When I called for drinks, I was told that I’ve been picked by Mumbai Indians. I couldn’t – in fact, didn’t – believe it. Perhaps my friend was taking a joke too far. And then, when he insisted, I knew he wasn’t kidding,” Nitish Rana told Cricbuzz.
When Sachin Tendulkar noticed Nitish Rana for the first time
Rana featured for the Mumbai Indians in the 2016 and 2017 edition of the cash-rich league and for him, the most memorable moment of his stint will always be the moment when Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar noticed and inquired about him.
“My friend overheard a conversation between Sachin Tendulkar and the Mumbai Indians manager Rahul Sanghvi, and told me that I had caught Sachin sir’s notice. He asked ‘Who’s this boy?’. He had clearly taken notice of me. That felt really good.” Rana revealed.
Rana also went on to talk about the pep-talk he received from the then Mumbai Indians coach, asserting that it proceeded to change his mindset for the good.
“Just don’t defend. You have the ability to hit the ball. Just hit the ball. Hard,” Ponting had told Rana.
And, it did wonders as Rana went on to rack up a 36-ball 70 against Gujarat Lions in the very next game.
Rana was one of the cornerstones behind Mumbai Indians winning the IPL title in 2017. In 13 games that the southpaw played, he racked up 333 runs at an average of 30.26 and a strike-rate of 126.13.