"There are no secrets," reveals Mayank Dagar. "It's all about working smart."

Mayank Dagar is an open book. He may be in Kings XI Punjab this Indian Premier League season but for that the 21-year-old toiled under the sun and sweated it out on the field to earn his place.

"You should be working on your craft, practicing purposefully in the nets," he says.

A slow left-arm orthodox, he has been purposefully and meticulously working on the craft of tossing it up and luring the batsman before the trajectory of the dip and turn do the trick. This is from someone who wanted to be a batsman when he had just turned to the sport as a child.

From bowling in the U-19 World Cup in 2016, where he picked up nine wickets in four matches at a miserly average of 9.36 and a frugal 2.88 runs per over, the U-23 Asian Cricket Council's Emerging Cup and the Duleep Trophy, every opportunity has provided young Mayank a platform. One day, he hopes to be playing for the Indian cricket team and win matches for his country as well.

"Things are going the way I wanted to but I'll keep hoping for the best and keep working on my game," he says.

For Dagar, his performances have not reaped rewards at times but that hasn't ruffled the Delhi-born lad much.

"I was expecting to be in the IPL sooner but it's not in my control, so I did not think much about it," he reflects. "I was just waiting for my chance, being positive and thinking only about things in my control and working on it.

"Why do we have to be demotivated?" he asks when probed further. "I'm doing pretty well and working on my game day-by-day, trying to win as a player and working on my batting, bowling and fielding."

Inspired by the high-level fitness standards and the impeccable run-scoring ability of India captain Virat Kohli and the left-arm guile of Daniel Vettori, Dagar has plenty of variations that he is willing to stock up in his armoury.

"It's all about experimenting but you'll see it once we enter the game!" the tall spinner affirms.

Now under the tutelage of KXIP skipper and fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and director of cricket operations Virender Sehwag, Dagar has the platform to expand his arsenal.

"Obviously, Viru sir is a legend," he exclaims elaborating on the preparatory camp in Mohali ahead of the season. "Moreover, we're going to get to know him and learn from him. Venky sir, as a bowling coach, has been working with us on how things should be in the death overs and the powerplay.

"Viru sir, Brad Hodge and Venky sir, all of them have been top class in their field. It's going to be a great journey for me as a player."

Along with his no-nonsense, elbow-grease approach to his trade and coupled with the trademark Punjabi-brand of cricket, he could soon become a vital cog in any playing eleven.

"We laugh off the field and when we are on field, we back up each other," he points out.

Behind those laughs though, will be his nose on the grindstone.