Kai Po Che's Ali makes it to IPL: Mumbai Indians signs Digvijay Deshmukh

Six years after starring in the Bollywood film 'Kai Po Che', the 21-year-old Maharashtra seamer has bagged an IPL contract with the Mumbai Indians.

21-year-old Digvijay Deshmukh played ‘Ali’ in the 2013 Indian movie ‘Kai Po Che’.   -  SCREENSHOTS

Six years after having realised the dream of his coach in reel life, 21-year-old Digvijay Deshmukh has made decisive headway towards fulfilling a dream of his own in real life.

Deshmukh, who starred in the Bollywood film ‘Kai Po Che’, has now bagged an Indian Premier League contract. He was purchased in the auction by Mumbai Indians for ₹20 lakh. “Yes, I am Digvijay and I acted as ‘Ali’ in that movie ‘Kai Po Che’. But I was never an actor and always a cricketer. Now I am slowly realising my dream,” Digvijay said.

Digvijay was rewarded for his performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy — he took nine wickets in the domestic T20 tournament. As if to celebrate his maiden IPL call-up, Digvijay picked up six wickets and scored 83 runs for Maharashtra on Friday during his Ranji Trophy debut against Jammu & Kashmir.

READ| IPL 2020 players list: Full squad of Mumbai Indians

Lifted to popularity for having acted in ‘Kai Po Che’, Digvijay revealed he never liked being branded as an actor.

Suitable character

“I had gone to play an U-14 school tournament in Mumbai and one of the ADs (assistant director) of the film selected me for audition and then I got the role. Everyone was very nice. I remember playing a lot of cricket with Sushant [Singh Rajput] and Rajkumar Rao. The character was somewhat like me — shy, reticent,” Digvijay said.

However, there was something that made him angry. “People would refer to me as an actor and I would be very angry. Mujhe gussa aata thaa. I did ‘Kai Po Che’ because a lot of scenes were just about playing cricket. But staying outdoor for four months hampered my cricket and I didn’t want that to happen ever again,” Digvijay recollected.

READ| IPL 2020: Full list of all eight updated squads after auction

Focus on cricket

“I got an opportunity to do a television commercial but I declined. My parents (father a school teacher and mother a homemaker) also supported me. I didn’t want the focus to waver from the game,” the Pune-based Digvijay said.

Ask him about his coaches, he said: “Right now, I am getting a lot of guidance from Surendra Bhave sir, our Ranji team coach. As far as my childhood coaches are concerned, there have been a few people who have helped me. If I name one particular, someone else might get annoyed.”

He believes that his average speed is in the range of 132-134 kmph and he can swing the ball both ways.

“I have no preference. I have just played a Ranji Trophy game and I want to play across all formats for my State team,” he said.

The only thing that Digvijay was cagey about was his trials and selection for Mumbai Indians. “I can’t talk about Mumbai Indians for the next two months as that’s an instruction from the franchise. Please excuse me on that front,” Digvijay maintained.

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