Mitchell Santner - "he's a Chennai stalwart now" - was the first to get in touch. And then "your phone goes off pretty quickly," Daryl Mitchell
said with a laugh, talking about the calls from his new team at the IPL, Chennai Super Kings, not long after he was sold for INR 14 crore (US$1,687,000 approx.) at Tuesday's auction in Dubai
"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 in a chat with reporters back in New Zealand the morning after.
"[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 don't 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's all done, your phone goes off pretty quickly, and Chennai get 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."
Mitchell, an established member of the New Zealand national team across formats after 20 Tests, 39 ODIs and 56 T20Is, was a part of Rajasthan Royals, in 2022, but go into the first XI only twice. This opportunity, he is hoping, helps him in a bigger way, and not just in terms of his cricket.
"It's my oldest daughter's fifth birthday today, so I got her a pretty good present waking up," he said. "Not that she understands what's going on, but yeah, look, I guess that's 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's the really cool thing about it, and they are the reason why you do all this.
"I understand that the game doesn't owe you anything, but you also have to be grateful for the opportunities that are provided. I still showed up this morning when we woke up, my daughter ran in and she [doesn't] really even think about the IPL. So, I guess, in many ways, it's about keeping things in perspective. And be grateful for what's happened over the last 12 hours and being excited about it, but at the same time knowing that the hard work doesn't stop, and you keep showing up with a smile on your face and getting stuck into the competition."
At Super Kings, Mitchell will have a lot of familiar faces around. Santner, of course. And Fleming. Rachin Ravindra has been acquired at the auction too, and Devon Conway was already there. Not to forget the physio, Tommy Simsek.
"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"
Daryl Mitchell on being part of a large New Zealand contingent at Chennai Super Kings
"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 off him, he's obviously had a lot of success, and I am looking forward to that experience," Mitchell said. "I grew up with Mitch since we were about 12 years old. And now, with Dev and Rachin in the team as well, it's 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's nice to have some familiar faces, but at the same time, it's also awesome to be part of what is such a cool franchise and successful franchise, to learn off some guys and those things are going to be seriously exciting."