'Seeing Yuvraj Singh have a wonderful (ODI World Cup) tournament in 2011 really inspired me.'
Just days before the IPL 2022 auctions, a video that included a collage of punchy sixes went viral on various Whatsapp groups.
It was 26-year-old Shubham Garhwal of Rajasthan, who was owner of those muscular hits that cleared the ropes by a distance.
When Rajasthan Royals lifted the auction paddle and confirmed a Rs 20 lakh deal for the Jodhpur left-hander, he reminisced an evening 11 years back, when India was playing Australia in the quarter-finals of the ODI World Cup.
Watching Yuvraj Singh's unmatched grace and fearless hitting, the 15-year-old Garhwal found a hero.
A decade later, wearing the Royals pink, Garhwal is ready to emulate his hero.
"I was really young back then, playing gully cricket in my hometown of Jodhpur and couldn't even hold the bat with the correct grip. But seeing Yuvraj Singh have a wonderful tournament in 2011 really inspired me," said Garhwal, who checked in at the team's pre-tournament camp in Nagpur.
"I am also a left-hander, so I used to love how he could hit the ball so effortlessly. I think that was a period which really changed my life for the good,” stated 26-year-old Garhwal.
Being from Rajasthan and representing the franchise from the state means extra responsibility.
"I take a lot of pride in representing the Royals. I am from Rajasthan myself and it's the biggest moment of my life. The happiness that I've seen on my parents' faces is something that inspires me to give my all for the team."
For Garhwal, it is a dream to work with team's top cricketing boss Kumar Sangakkara.
"I am really looking forward to working with Sanga Sir as well. He's been one of the greatest left-handers in the sport, and I'm sure his advice will take my game to the next level."
The striking bit about Garhwal was that he was spotted during the trials which were conducted at the Royals High Performance Centre in Nagpur.
"I felt like I was in good touch during the trials but still with so many players up for sale in the auction, I wasn't very confident that I will get picked. When I was bought, I was over the moon, I couldn't believe it," said Garhwal.
Rajasthan Royals start their IPL 2022 campaign on March 29.