With a little help, Royston Dias makes it happen in eventful Ranji debut

An honest and tactical chat with a veteran was what got Dias his maiden wicket in First Class cricket.

Pacer Royston Dias has been making quite the headway ever since his debut for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy in 2016. And his stint in T20 Mumbai has further rocketed his stock. The lanky speedster who possesses a mean bouncer in his arsenal has rattled batsmen aplenty, including the great Sachin Tendulkar, and is now a regular fixture in the Mumbai squad for domestic tournaments.

Despite starting leather ball cricket much later than his peers, Dias made giants strides in a short period of time and he credits that to his attentive nature. “Honestly speaking, I’m very good learner. I grasp things quickly,” Dias divulged. This ability of his would come in handy on his Ranji debut, which came courtesy of a stroke of luck.

“The day before the game, the practice sheet said that I was scheduled for three spells. That was a bummer, because it basically meant that I wasn’t going to play the following day,” recalled Dias. “In the evening the coach came up to me and told me that Dhawal (Kulkarni) has a swelling in his knee. So be ready.”

The following day, as luck would have it, Royston earned his first ever Ranji cap against Punjab, one of the proudest days of the speedster’s relatively young career. But the joy didn’t last long, as Dias toiled without fruition on a tough wicket for bowlers and struggled to get even a whiff of a wicket. “I had bowled 23 overs without a wicket. We were in a very bad situation in that game. It was very disheartening,” said Dias.

But like he has throughout his childhood, Dias turned to a wiser head and heeded to some much-needed advice to change the course of his and his team’s match. Speaking of the moment, Dias recalled, “Abhishek Nayar, who wasn’t playing in the match, came on as a substitute fielder. I went up to him and told him, ‘Nayari, kuch nahi horaha hai re! (Nayari, nothing’s happening today!)’”

Nayar gave the rookie some timely advice and as if it were straight out of a movie script, Dias got his first ever wicket in the Ranji Trophy. “Nayar and I had a discussion and I bowled a cross seam delivery. It pitched and slightly deviated off the wicket and the batsman was caught behind. During the celebration of the wicket, I waved to Nayari, basically saying ‘Teri wajah se mila wicket! (I got the wicket because of you!,” reminisced the pacer.   

Since then, Dias has featured in more matches for Mumbai in all formats and has plenty of wickets to his name, but his first scalp remains his most memorable one till date.

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