What followed next? A bidding war in December 2019 at the 2020 IPL auction table between Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings, before the latter snapped the youngster for Rs 2 crore against his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
Things are bigger and better in 2022 for Bishnoi who is also on the national selectors’ radar. At Rs 4 crore, the new IPL franchise from Lucknow has named the young spinner in its three draft picks.
Ecstatic at the opportunity, while Bishnoi expressed his gratitude for the continuous support of his two coaches, Shahrukh Pathan and Pradyot Singh Rathore, he was quick to mention Lucknow captain KL Rahul being a factor in the interest shown in him by the new franchise from the north.
“It’s a proud moment for me, my coaches and family as I am one of those few players among the world’s best picked by the franchise before the mega auction. Aur mereko lagta hain Rahul bhai ne bola hoga mere liye (I have a feeling Rahul must have suggested my name to the Lucknow franchise management). Now my focus is on doing even better for my new IPL team and helping them win games,” said Bishnoi who has taken 24 wickets at an economy rate of 6.96 in 23 IPL matches so far.
Team owner, Dr. Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman @rpsggroup welcomes the 3️⃣ drafted picks for #TeamLucknow! 👏😇@klrahul11… https://t.co/T5x4bJvXga
— Official Lucknow IPL Team (@TeamLucknowIPL) 1642787986000
STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM
Having already played under Rahul during his time with Punjab, the leggie with a deceptive googly credits the backing he received there for boosting his confidence.
“I was given an opportunity to play in the very first season I was picked by the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in 2020. Throughout my two-year stint with them, I have received immense backing both from captain Rahul bhai and Anil Kumble sir (the director of cricket operations for PBKS). It was a big exposure for me as a youngster and it added to my confidence as a bowler,” acknowledged the youngster.
Talking about hard work, Bishnoi feels he has been lucky to have a strong support system around him.
“No matter what the situation, Shahrukh and Pradyot bhaiya have always stood by me. I can’t thank them enough for the way they ensured I did not miss out on my training when everything was shut during the two lockdowns because of Covid-19.
“There was hardly any movement allowed as Jodhpur was a red zone for a pretty long time. I took my essentials and camped at the Spartans Cricket Academy in Jodhpur, which is run by these two coaches. Not even for a single day I had to miss out on my practice. I feel I am very lucky. My effort to improve needed their support,” he said.
HIGHEST EARNING MEMBER IN FAMILY
At 21, Bishnoi is the highest earning member in his family, but he does not wish to dwell over his growing bank balance.
“Money matters, but it is more important for any young player to get an opportunity to play at this level and showcase his skill. Paisa baad main bhi kamaya jaa sakta hain (money can be earned later as well),” he said.
The leg-spinner is counting on Rahul as he gears up to play for Lucknow in the IPL.
“With Rahul bhai leading Lucknow, I feel it will be easier for me to adjust in the new team as I have already played under him,” the youngster said.
Not looking beyond the immediate opportunity at hand, Bishnoi said, “I do not wish to clutter my thinking about the upcoming T20 World Cup selection. The opportunity in front of me is to play for Lucknow and that is my focus at present. Doing well here will to a lot of extent play a role in what happens next.”