Tokas makes the most of one-year wait

Hard work never goes waste, and Delhi seamer Vikas Tokas justifies the phrase. Two Ranji seasons back, he made his first class debut for Railways but eventually shifted to Delhi. The period between shifting from Railways and settling in the senior Delhi side might have accounted for a year but the road was full of obstacles. Before the start of the last edition of the Ranji Trophy, Tokas, despite informing his availability for Delhi, had to wait an entire season before earning his third first-class match.

The reason for the delay was the time it took for Railways to grant him the no objection nod. When he was handed the NOC, it was too late for him to even get considered in the Delhi probables camp. "I played two matches for them, I wasn't enjoying it there. I always wanted to play for Delhi but as soon as I was picked in the Railways camp and they promised a job, my family insisted that I should take up the opportunity. But I was right and I am happy that Delhi accepted me and helped further my career," says Tokas.

For father Dharampal Tokas, a Delhi Transport Corporation bus driver, fulfilling the needs of a cricketer son wasn't easy. An opportunity of working in a government set-up must have given the family some financial security and hence their insistence that he take up the offer. Tokas was posted in Mumbai but the pressures of the job, he says, prevented him from concentrating on his bowling. "I was fed up with what was going on. I spoke to my family and told them I would rather quit cricket than play for Railways. But thankfully the Railways board gave me the nod and I could play for Delhi," Tokas says.

Tokas had earlier played two Ranji games for Railways. He debuted against Mumbai and then played Tamil Nadu in his second match. The records don't reflect his true character but his speed was his USP, and this is what helped him make the grade for Delhi. "I won the speedster contest in Delhi and I was told that I had clocked 135kph. I remember I played a one-day Ranji match against Vidarbha the same year and picked up four wickets. I enjoyed bowling with the white ball as I was quick and I could swing it too. I think performance in any format never goes waste and that is what perhaps helped me to find a place in Delhi," Tokas says.

Against Maharashtra at Roshanara, his first Ranji game for Delhi, Tokas impressed with his pace and picked up three wickets. His spell with the new ball was effective in each of the Maharashtra innings. The control that he displayed with the new ball led Shikhar Dhawan to make him bowl longer spells. "He is a good seamer. He is quick and can move the ball. The best thing about him is that he is fit and can bowl really long spells. It is just his first match and I believe he has done well," the Delhi skipper says.

Harshad Khadiwale whom he castled in both innings, echoed these comments. "If you ask me who is the best bowler in this Delhi unit, that has to be Sumit Narwal, because he is very accurate and doesn't make things easy for the batsmen but Tokas is quick and he is good with the new ball," Khadiwale says.

Asked if he was satisfied with his performance, Tokas says no. "The way I was planning to bowl, a lot of it went accordingly but one spell in the first innings was disturbing. But in the second I improved on that and happened to get two wickets," he says. "I just hope that I do well in the upcoming matches."

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