New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell said that his massive Rs 14 crore Indian Premier League (IPL) deal with five-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will help him set up his family in many ways and added that he is still pinching himself, feeling lucky and grateful to receive an opportunity to play for such a huge franchise.
Mitchell became the third millionaire in the auction held in Dubai on Tuesday after Chennai Super Kings (CSK) took him for Rs 14 crores.
While speaking to the reporters in New Zealand after the auction, Mitchell said that his teammate and all-rounder Mitchell Santner was the first one to get in touch with him.
Describing his experience watching the auction, Mitchell said that he was glued to the screen when his name came up. Interestingly, it was also his eldest daughter Addie’s birthday too and he was wrapping up presents while watching the auction. Following that, as soon as he was bought by CSK, he got in touch with head coach and former Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming.
“Yeah, your heart starts to pump a little bit as you see the paddles going up. And yeah, having been through an auction before and going unsold, it was a special night last night to experience that, and now to obviously be part of the Chennai Super Kings is an exciting time,” Mitchell said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
“[Elder daughter] Addie’s birthday today, so there was a bit of wrapping up presents and stuff like that while the auction was going on. At the auction, you do not quite know exactly when you’re going to come up in the list. So yeah, I guess we were just trying to keep ourselves busy and watching it, and then, when it popped up, I guess you end up being glued to the screen to see what happens.”
“As soon as it is all done, your phone goes off pretty quickly, and Chennai gets in touch with you, speak with the manager and Flem [head coach Stephen Fleming], in contact with them to get a few things sorted and becoming part of the Chennai Super Kings team. It all happens pretty quickly. At the moment, I guess I am still pinching myself [because of] how lucky and grateful I am for this opportunity and looking forward to getting stuck into it in a few months’ time,” concluded Mitchell.
Mitchell is an established member of the Kiwi batting line-up across all formats, having played 20 Tests, 39 ODIs and 56 T20Is. In the last season of the IPL, the Kiwi opener did not take part in the tournament. His last season was in 2022 with Rajasthan Royals (RR). He played only two matches in the extravagant T20 tournament and scored 33 runs.
Daryl was New Zealand’s second-most successful batter in WC 2023, scoring 552 runs in 10 matches with two centuries and two fifties at an average of 69.00. The all-rounder has 1,069 runs for Kiwis in 56 T20Is at an average of 24.86, with five fifties and eight wickets as well. He is a batting all-rounder.
Mitchell said that he was able to get his daughter a “good present” on her birthday as the money will help set up the family in many ways.
“It is my oldest daughter’s fifth birthday today, so I got her a pretty good present waking up. Not that she understands what is going on, but yeah, look, I guess that is the whole thing about these sorts of situations, it will help us set up the family in many ways, [the two daughters can] grow up and enjoy the things they love, and for me, that is the really cool thing about it, and they are the reason why you do all this,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said that though the game does not owe players anything, players have to stay grateful for their opportunities.
“I still showed up this morning when we woke up, my daughter ran in and she [does not] really even think about the IPL. So, I guess, in many ways, it is about keeping things in perspective. And be grateful for what has happened over the last 12 hours and being excited about it, but at the same time know that the hard work does not stop, and you keep showing up with a smile on your face and getting stuck into the competition,” he concluded.
In the CSK camp will be many similar faces for Mitchell, namely teammates Devon Conway, Santner, Rachin Ravindra and the physio Tommy Simsek. The all-rounder is keen to learn from the New Zealand great Fleming and play with his fellow Kiwi teammates along with world-class players from other nations.
“Really excited to play under Flem, he is obviously a great of the game in our country as a player and now as a coach as well. To learn from him, he has obviously had a lot of success, and I am looking forward to that experience,” Mitchell said.
“I grew up with Mitch (Santner) since we were about 12 years old. And now, with Dev and Rachin in the team as well, it is going to be good fun. And again, a lot of the Indian players – the cool thing about the IPL is that you get to rub shoulders with some world-class players, so really looking forward to that.”
“You obviously spend a lot of time in hotels throughout the IPL and to have some good mates there helps the time go a bit faster. Throughout the World Cup, I know Rachin was in charge of the PlayStation group every night, so those sort of things will be happening again. Yeah, look, it is nice to have some familiar faces, but at the same time, it is also awesome to be part of what is such a cool and successful franchise, to learn from some guys and those things are going to be seriously exciting,” concluded Mitchell.