New Delhi: The Indian Premier League has always been an ideal platform for the unknown names from hinterlands to take centrestage and Sunday was the turn of 22-year-old Pune Warriors' left-arm pacer Shrikant Wagh to grab his share of spotlight.
Wagh impressed with the ball with figures of three for 16 that fetched him the man-of-the-match award against Kings XI Punjab.
"It's undoubtedly the best day of my life," Wagh, who plays for Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy, told PTI from Navi Mumbai.
Interestingly, had India speedster Ashish Nehra not been ruled out of IPL due to a fractured finger, Wagh may have well been warming the benches. But the youngster feels that Nehra's presence would have helped him to learn a few tricks.
"I am really sad that Ashish bhaiya will not be playing. As a left-arm seamer, it would have been nice to get a few tips from one of the best left-arm swing bowler in our country. I am missing him," Wagh stated.
Wagh dismissed Shaun Marsh, Dinesh Karthik and Piyush Chawla in his first match at the big stage.
Incidentally, it was Shaun's father and Pune Warriors' coach Geoff Marsh who complimented the bowler for his lion-hearted effort.
"I was overwhelmed when our coach Geoff Marsh congratulated me after the match. He said that I deserved to get a chance and he was confident that I would do well. That's the best compliment one can get," said Wagh, who hails from Buldhana district in Maharashtra.
Asked whether he was jittery initially when he was given the new ball, Wagh replied, "I was bowling well during practice and expected a chance. My skipper Yuvraj Singh told me to simply bowl at right areas and forget about the rest. I just followed his instructions."
Although he has impressed with the new ball, Wagh considers himself to be an all-rounder and is ready to bat at any position.
"I have scored a century in Ranji Trophy for Vidarbha and I consider myself as an all-rounder."
Wagh feels that his stint at the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) under former England bowling coach Troy Cooley also helped him mature as a bowler.
"Though it was a brief stint but I learnt a lot from Troy Cooley about swing bowling."