For someone who has watched Fire in Babylon over ten times, it is not surprising that all Sandeep Warrier wants is to bowl quick.

The right-arm pacer from Kerala has just completed a remarkable first-class season, taking 44 wickets to lead the state to their maiden Ranji semi-final appearance. That earned him a spot in the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup in Nagpur, although he didn't make the final XI for the game.

In a short career that's seen him being suspended from the Kerala team, rejected by IPL franchises (he's not received a bid since 2013), and waylaid with injuries, Warrier has developed into a mature cricketer who only focuses on what he can control.

From a boy who only paid attention to his numbers, Warrier has become a man for whom the "team comes first". He believes it's that change in attitude that's earned him rewards of late.

"For the past three-four years, as a person, I used to get dejected if I wasn't selected," Warrier tells ESPNcricinfo. "I couldn't come out of the sadness very easily. I know I was a person like that. But for the past two years, I've started caring on only the things I can control. There are some things not in your hand, so I just focus on my skills. The other thing I have developed is that I want my team to win."

Warrier's development into a cricketer, though, began in the city that's often called Indian cricket's nursery - Mumbai. His father, a bank employee, worked in the city when Warrier was in school, but he only played at the lower levels, for his school. The love for the game though, was inculcated in Mumbai, and the real impetus came after moving back to Kerala at 16. Inside four years, Warrier had broken into the Kerala side after two successful seasons of district-level cricket, and at 20, he made his first-class debut. Soon, he found a place in India's Under-23 side, albeit briefly.

"I was not expecting a call-up into the Rest of India team for the Irani Cup, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish for it. I played A-Division cricket in Chennai as soon as the Ranji Trophy ended, so I was in form and I knew I can express myself if I got a chance," Warrier says. "But no, I wasn't expecting it, but definitely something I hoped for.

"My friends ask me how I want to be remembered. Like Steyn-gun or Rawalpindi Express. But I chose Sultan of Swing. Fire in Babylon really sealed it for me. I play, I don't play it doesn't matter - but all I want from life is to be a fast bowler"

"For me, this was my best year just because I was getting enough support from the other side. Apart from my first year, we didn't have a good bowling combination. But for the last two years , it's me, Basil [Thampi], [MD] Nidheesh and Jalaj [Saxena] who have led the attack. And that consistency in the line-up has made the difference for me as well.

"After the 2013 Under-23 Emerging Teams competition, I felt really disappointed at not getting picked for these squads again. But that's what made me what I am now. I am a strong believer of hard work, and if you put in the effort, you will get success down the line. Yes, it's taken me six years to get back into the limelight, but if I get an opportunity again, I will not let it go."

That success takes time, Warrier learnt back when he spent three seasons with Royal Challengers Bangalore. After impressing Virat Kohli as a net bowler in 2013, Warrier was picked in the squad. Although he was released three seasons later - having not played a single game - Warrier looks back at that time as 'a blessing'.

"In 2013, I went for the India nets. They were playing England in Kochi, and I bowled to the India batsmen," Warrier says. "After that, Virat Kohli told the RCB manager to contact me, and I signed up for them.

"But I was younger then, so I would get disappointed not getting a shot, because as a cricketer that's what you want to do... just play. When I was released, I used to think about these what-ifs. But not playing that time was a blessing for me, because right now I know how to handle pressure. That time I was a bit nervous, and that may have played a role. I wanted to play, but I had the self-doubt on whether I could give myself a 100%. 'What will happen if I get hit for a six, how will I come back?' But I don't panic and bowl aimlessly anymore."

During his time at RCB, Warrier also got to rub shoulders with Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar, which helped him hone his skills further. From being just an outswing bowler, Warrier has gradually added different variations to his arsenal.

"For white-ball cricket, I used to bowl only one slower ball - the back of the hand. Now I've developed the knuckle ball and the offcutter, and for the past two years my yorkers are coming out really well. These things have made a difference in white-ball cricket. But in red-ball cricket, the only thing I did is that I developed my inswinger," Warrier says. "My consistency reached a different level because of that, and I could move the ball just how I wanted. I could do it through the whole season, not just a one-off game."

Warrier, however, did not always have such a clear thought-process. As a youngster, the expectations from friends and family bogged him down tremendously. But he's successfully managed to keep those away as he's evolved.

"The one thing that causes this stress is the expectation that others keep on you," Warrier says. "Your parents, your friends, they'll say 'your age is going up'. But I've developed a small cricket circle and no one else can enter that. Even my parents, I don't allow them to discuss cricket with me, not even my best buddies. So that's helped me in keeping expectations at bay."

As for Warrier's dreams of playing for India's national side, he's happy to wait. Although he's certain that he can succeed at the international level - given his red-hot form this season - Warrier does not want to be one of those cricketers who play for India one year and are forgotten by the time the next season comes.

"With the form I am in now, I know I can take wickets for any team, even India. But I want to sustain this form, not just go in and out of the team," he explains. "I don't want to be that person who plays two matches, and then fight my way for the rest of my career. I'll prefer waiting for three-four months and going there, rather than looking for the opportunity right away."

Warrier's already got a moniker that he wants to be remembered by. It came about during his time spent in Mumbai when he pored over the success of the great West Indian fast bowlers of the 1970s. But for that, he'll have to repeat his performance from this season over and over again.

"My friends ask me how I want to be remembered. Like Steyn-gun or Rawalpindi Express. But I chose 'Sultan of Swing'," Warrier says. "Fire in Babylon really sealed it for me. I play, I don't play it doesn't matter - but all I want from life is to be a fast bowler."

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo