On Monday night, after the Delhi Capitals played Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai, he went up to South African pace great Dale Steyn, who’s part of the RCB outfit, to seek his advice on how to work on his fitness as a fast bowler.
“I’m speechless, because he’s been my idol since I chose to become a fast bowler many years ago. This is the first time I met him. He was very humble, and answered all my questions. I felt really nice,” said the 25-year-old, in a video tweeted by the Delhi Capitals.
Dreams 2⃣ come true ✨➡️ Meeting @dalesteyn62 🔥➡️ Playing alongside @KagisoRabada25 🤜🏼🤛🏼@TusharD_96 #Dream11IPL… https://t.co/yNzM5vsrrP
— Delhi Capitals (Tweeting from 🇦🇪) (@DelhiCapitals) 1602048600000
So what exactly did Deshpande ask Steyn? “Since he was the No 1 Test bowler for eight years, I asked him what exactly is the recipe for fitness for a fast bowler at the international level. I’ve managed to remain fit for first-class cricket, but I wanted to know how he remained fit for international cricket. He just said: ‘its repetitive, good work, over and over again. It’s a simple thing, but you tend to miss it. It was important for me that Steyn told me this. I felt very good after listening to him,” said Deshpnade.
Clearly, he was in awe of Steyn, who picked up 439 wickets in 93 Tests@22.95. “I was just watching his eyes for a while. I’ve seen them on television, but this was the first time I saw those ‘crazy eyes’ in person. It’s an unbelievable feeling. I still can’t believe that I spoke to him, because speaking to your idol is a surreal feeling,” said Deshpande. The young seamer has so far taken 50 first-class wickets in 20 matches, and once impressed former West Indies pacer-turned commentator Ian Bishop, in the video.
Deshpande’s willingness to learn seemed to have left a mark with Steyn too. “Nothing better than meeting people who are enthusiastic and excited about becoming better players. Tushar is all that and more! I wish nothing but greatness for you my friend,” tweeted Steyn later.
Nothing better than meeting people who are enthusiastic and excited about becoming better players. Tushar is all t… https://t.co/r2IOLazQC7
— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) 1602088457000
The youngster clearly remembers which Steyn spell he enjoyed watching the most. “His 7-51 in Nagpur (in the first Test against India, in 2010). He got Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, S Badrinath, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.”
Deshpande is also picking the brains of his Delhi Capitals teammate, and another South African pace ace, Kagiso Rabada, in the IPL. “He’s a brilliant bowler in any format of the game. You’ve seen it in the IPL and in international cricket. He has a very bright future for South Africa. I want to wish him good luck,” concluded Deshpande.