Tragedy-hit Milind Kumar all set to make way for great performance on cricket grounds
A few months back, his Karol Bagh residence felt like a haunted house for Milind Kumar.
His mother had just passed away and Delhi middle-order batsman was going through the most turbulent phase of his life.
Few months down the line, he lost his place in the Delhi side. He would still train hard but vacuum seemed to affect him severely.
So when an offer to play Ranji Trophy as a professional for Sikkim came along, his start-stop career got a second wind.
And in his first game for the adopted state, Milind smashed his way to a career-best 261 against Manipur after his side was left tottering at 15 for 5.
The journey in the past few months wasn't easy, he confessed.
"I spent all my time at the ground as I didn't feel like going back home after training. I used to feel very lonely," Milind told PTI during an interaction.
But he is still uncomfortable talking about his mother's death.
"Yes, this knock is for her. I don't want to talk much about it," was all that one will be able to get from the soft-spoken 27-year-old.
Bhaichung Bhutia has always covered the Sikkimese mindspace ever since he blazed the Kolkata Maidans in early 90's and now an 'outsider' Milind is craving for some love albeit in a different sport. And his new journey has also started in the City of Joy.
"I was extra motivated to do well. I wanted to push myself. I think I have been able to prove myself. I will now look to build on my form and score as many runs as possible," Milind said.
With a mediocre first-class average of 30 and two hundred in 29 first-class games, it was difficult for Milind to keep his place in the Delhi middle-order where an immensely talented Himmat Singh has made his presence felt.
Milind then had reconciled that he needed to move on. He landed up in Siliguri where the signing formalities were completed before heading to join the camp at the KIIT Campus in Bhubaneshwar, the adopted home venue of Sikkim, just a week a back.
Having spent very little time with his new teammates, Milind still struggles to remember their names.
So much so that he took the help of the scorecard to recall the name of Padam Bahadur Limboo, with whom he stitched a valuable 83-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
"I know their names somewhat," he sheepishly admitted.
While there is definitely a gulf in the standard of bowling that he faced but according to Milind there is a fear of unknown that every professional needed to encounter.
"It's more difficult to score runs here. In elite cricket, you know who is a good player and you play accordingly. Here we don't know them. Pressure is on you to push yourself. I was just looking to score runs."
However, things were different five years back when he had just started off for the senior team. In biting cold conditions, Milind had scored an unbeaten 78 alongside Shikhar Dhawan in a day/night one-day warm-up game against a full-strength England side.
However, he could never capitalise after that as his eight knocks of 50 plus (2 tons and six fifties) in 46 first-class innings indicate.
"I had two bad innings and they (selectors) told me I was not in good touch. "We are resting you". I was told and I took it on my stride," Milind said.
"Then I received a call with an offer to play for Sikkim... I am really grateful that I took the right call."
(With inputs from agencies.)