New Delhi: When his good friend Rohit Sharma introduced him to Sachin Tendulkar, all that young Robin Bist could do for the first five minutes was just keep on looking at the maestro.
"I had requested Rohit to ask whether Sachin would be able to spare 10 minutes. Well, I got 15 minutes from him, which remains the most cherished experience for me," Bist, who is a part of the India `A` cricket team to tour the West Indies, told mediapersons after a felicitation programme at his alma mater Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Asked about that life changing experience, he said,"What can a young cricketer do when he is meeting Sachin Tendulkar for the first time? For the first five minutes, I was completely awestruck and didn`t register anything. The next 10 minutes were spent on queries on how to tackle short-pitched deliveries."
"He (Sachin) told me that for a short guy like me, it is important that I let the bouncer come into my body. That would always help me better my feet movement as to whether I need to quickly react or play it late."
The Rajasthan batsman knows pretty well that a middle-order that boasts of Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary would leave him with very little chance of making it among the six specialist batsmen but he is not ready to lose hope as yet.
"My job is to bat well in the nets and impress my coach Lalchand Rajput. Agreed that all the other batsmen in the squad have played international cricket but I am certainly good enough and that`s why I am in the squad of 15," he said.
Bist, the highest run-scorer in this season`s Ranji Trophy, is also indebted to his state team skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar who has time and again helped him.
"Hrishidada (as he fondly calls him) is like a mentor. Prior to this Ranji season, he told me that he would like to see me remain not out in every innings. That was something that boosted my confidence.
"A trip to Caribbean islands is never complete without speaking atleast once to Hrishidada and my childhood coach Rakesh Rai. These are two men who believe that there is no need to change my natural style."
Although he didn`t get to play a single match for Delhi Daredevils, sharing the dressing room with Mahela Jayawardene turned out to be an enriching experience.
"Mahela told me that if one plays with the straight bat, there would be absolutely no need to improvise as most scoring strokes come from copybook shots. Also I discussed with Andre Russell about the nature of wickets in the Caribbean."