They were in the finals of the Goa Premier League T20 in its last two editions but failed to cross the final hurdle on both the occasions. Driven by the fact that they had never won this trophy, Dempo Cricket Club entered the players’ auction with a resolve to change things this time around as they set their eyes on someone who could win it for them.
Sagun Kamat, the prolific left handed batsman and an instrumental force in taking Salgaocar SC to their two-time GPL T20 glory, was on their radar and that could probably be one of the reasons how the southpaw became the costliest player of the GPL 2013. Dempo CC not only snapped up Sagun for a whopping 2.65 lakh but also handed him the reigns of the captaincy with a hope that he would take them to their maiden T20 triumph.
Sagun, a highly talented batsman that he is, also showed his class as a captain as he never let the huge expectations bog him down and made sure that he marshalled his resources well to take Dempo CC to their first ever GPL T20 win.
In an exclusive chat with Sushant Chimulkar of The Navhind Times Sagun shares his experience playing with Dempo CC and also talks about various topics related to Goan cricket.
Congratulations on winning the GPL T20 yet again. How does it feel to be on the winning side —3rd time in last four years of its inception?
Well, it does really feel good. We had a very good team this time with a bunch of some exceptionally talented players. I am happy and immensely satisfied that the boys were able to convert their talent into performance throughout the tournament. It was indeed a proud moment for me to take Dempo CC to their maiden GPLT20 triumph.
You pipped many big names on your way to becoming the costliest player of this GPL edition. Did it come as a surprise to you?
Not really. I thought my recent performances were always there to back me. I had a reasonably good Ranji trophy season for Goa this year besides I was also among the runs during the KS Subbaiah Pillai Trophy South Zone limited-overs tournament which was held in Goa recently. But, on the hindsight, when I think about some of the IPL stars like Bisla and others I do feel I might have got lucky.
With the ‘Most Expensive Player’ tag attached, did you feel any extra pressure to perform?
Well the pressure was obviously there but not on individual performance but on the overall performance of the team. And I am very glad that we came with flying colours.
Your captain’s knock in the all-important finals fetched you the man-of-the-match. What does the award mean to you?
Any award which takes your team to the title is always special and this one will always remain close to my heart.
As a captain you must have been impressed by some of the players in your side.
Sheru (Sherbahadur Singh), Sahil Dhuri, KS Shahabuddin and Vishal Singh were very impressive and not to forget Yogesh Takawale who played a fine unbeaten knock of 35 runs in the finals. Besides almost all the members of the squad were equally good and I am sure without their contributions our victory wouldn’t have materialised.
You have been part of the three GPL T20 winning teams in the last four editions — twice with Salgaocar SC and now with Dempo CC. How has been your experience with both the teams vis-a-vis the franchisee?
Both the teams were excellent. They both look after their players very well and make them feel at home. I enjoyed playing for both.
The patron of Dempo CC Mr Shrinivas V Dempo is well-known for his love for sports and it is even said that his encouraging words often bring out the best in the players. Did you receive any kind of encouragement from him en route to the glory?
Oh yes, we had a meeting with him before the start of the tournament and he said “Do not take pressure and play freely” and that perhaps helped us when we lost our first match. Though dejected by the defeat we never let it affect our performance in the next games as we came back even strongly. Mr Dempo was there during the final match and it was a great feeling to lift the trophy in his presence.
GCA in this edition introduced three outstation teams, including one from Sri Lanka, with an aim to provide its domestic players an exposure to play alongside players from other states. But given the not-so impressive performance of these teams, do you think the purpose was served?
The Sri Lankan team Colombo Warriors was a very good side with some former international cricketers. They did well but were unfortunate to make an early exit due to their lower net run-rate. It was a good experience discussing cricket with the Sri Lankan players as we got to learn from them their cricketing culture, their approach to the game and the way they prepare for the game. All in all I thought it was a good exposure to all of us. As for other two teams, they might have failed to impress this time but I am sure they will come back stronger next time.
You’ve been quite successful in the T20 format and must be enjoying playing the same. However, there have been some purists who often criticise this format and even term it as slam bang cricket.
According to me every form of cricket has its own value. If Test cricket or for that matter other longer formats test one’s skill and temperament, I think T20 does assess one’s hard-hitting abilities. And to think about it T20 is not only about big hitting as I have seen some players who only play the cricketing shots and are quite successful in this format.
Your immediate wish or an ambition as a cricketer.
Honestly speaking, I want to be consistent as a batsman and obviously the rest will follow. My performance in the past has been very patchy and I would like to improve on that. I will be next playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy South Zone T20 tournament to be held in Karnataka next week, and would like to carry on with my good form. [NT]