Kings XI Punjab’s hard-hitting all-rounder Deepak Hooda has recalls how he almost became a wicketkeeper.
He is due to showcase his talents at IPL 2020 after a fateful change saw him ditch the gloves after the first two years of his career. He has since gone on to play for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals before being snapped up by KXIP ahead of this year’s edition.
“I enjoyed bowling even in my early cricketing days, but when I started playing club cricket my coach made me a wicketkeeper-batsman. The first two years of my cricket career I played as a ‘keeper-batsman,” said Hooda during an interview with the KXIP website.
“I got to be in the playing 11 back then just because I agreed to become a wicketkeeper because the senior team did not have anyone for that position. But keeping in the nets all day was difficult for me as a youngster because my knees used to pain a lot.”
Hooda realised his all-round potential
The 25-year-old soon made the switch from behind the stumps after working on his skillset.
He added: “I began working on my batting because I didn’t want to play as a keeper anymore. Back then, my brother and I used to play together and we used to bowl to each other and help improve the other. I liked to be active on the cricket field, be it bowling, batting or fielding.“
Hooda also started going to a different academy in Gurgaon where he was able to shine as an off-spin bowler and a powerful batsman.
“Friday, Saturday and Sundays I used to practice in Delhi and the other days whenever I wanted to practice extra I used to go to an academy in Gurgaon,” he said. “Over there I began playing as an off-spinner and batsman, and got selected to play at the district level.
“During one of those district-level games, my coach from Delhi saw me and recognised my potential as an all-rounder. Following that, I was able to forgo keeping and focus on my all-round skills.”