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Delhi offer came too late for Chopra

It has been a remarkable domestic season for Delhi opener Aakash Chopra, but he now finally gets an opportunity to smile. He is all set to play for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Tigers in the upcoming Indian Premier League.

Chopra was not offered a contract by Delhi Daredevils until after he had signed with Kolkata. By then, it was too late.

Talks had been on between Kolkata Tigers and Chopra after the Duleep Trophy, and only the formality of signing the agreement was left. That finally happened on Sunday.

Though Chopra refused to reveal the contract amount, he is now a content man.

“It happened just two days back. I am happy with it and am looking forward to playing in the IPL. I wasn’t approached by Delhi till I had signed for Kolkata.”

“DDCA president Arun Jaitely had said that he was trying to work out something for me, but till my signing up with Kolkata, nothing had come my way from Delhi. The day it was all finalised by Kolkata the DDCA did give me an offer, but by then I had given my commitment to Kolkata Tigers,” Chopra told Sportline.

Chopra scored an unbeaten 101 off 89 balls against J&K in the opening Ranji one-dayer, and against Punjab he remained unbeaten on 130. He acknowledges that quickfire scoring isn’t his forte, but he wants to change that now.

“When I was a kid I was not a Sehwag or Dhoni. I am a free stroke-maker, but to expect that I will go out and hit all the deliveries is wrong. I play in a way I find expression in.

“This IPL contract has given me a platform to the change the perception and I hope I will be able to do it,” he said.

“It hurts if someone tags you as a certain class of player. I got a chance and I made it. I have scored fast, and hope it changes the perception of people who say I am not a one-day player,” he said.

“I have made a conscious effort with my game. I get a good start, then try to accelerate. These one-dayers have been good for me.”

It’s not just the money. Chopra knows he has a big challenge ahead, and he is ready for it. “It will be a different challenge and I have to adapt to different circumstances. There is something to be proved and I know I will prove that,” Chopra added.

What is his big target now? The South African series? “That is there, and there is a lot of cricket to be played. Whatever I had to do in the Ranji four-dayers I have done, with my total crossing 1400 runs. It’s a sealed deal, but still there are many games left,” he said.

“I am not thinking much about the South African tour, but I know that since I was among the probables for Australia, I will be in the scheme of things in the next series as well. Whenever I get a chance, I will grab it.” About the Delhi structure, he says there is scope for a lot of improvement.

“There is no proper structure in Delhi to spot talent. There are no tournaments here from where you can select a Ranji team. If you look at other states they have tournaments from where they pick players and that has to come soon to Delhi,” he added.

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