Rahane’s class, Dhoni’s calmness peps up Rahul Tripathi
The Indian Premier League, ever since its inception in 2008, is known for the entertainment and cricket it brings to the viewers in the form of the talent at display. It is also a league which props up countless stories of triumph against odds.
But, even though fans come out in numbers chanting the popular names in the circuit, it is those budding cricketers who wear the biggest smile on their face in the team dugout. For most domestic cricketers, IPL is one such platform, which they crave for, and once given an opportunity, they want to encash it to the fullest and prove their mettle.
One such story brewed on a Saturday evening when a fairly new face from Maharashtra came out to open with one of the most classical batsmen of Indian cricket.
Sold at his base price in the IPL auction, Rahul Tripathi went on to score his first IPL 50 on his home ground as he batted along with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and MS Dhoni.
Post RPS’ thrilling win against SRH, Ajinkya Rahane caught up with Rahul Tripathi on his performance in the match, learning from the star-studded camp and MS Dhoni’s cracking finish.
Ajinkya Rahane – Rahul, tell us about your knock of 59 runs today.
Rahul – I felt extremely nice. Firstly, opening with you was a great experience for me. I tried to see how the ball is behaving in one or two overs and then go and play shots as we required a run-rate of 9 per over. I tried to go big on the loose deliveries and give the team a good start in the first six overs as we have been doing in the last couple of games.
Ajinkya – Today you batted along with MS Dhoni, Steve Smith and obviously with me (smiles). What was your experience like batting alongside the three of us?
Rahul – I can go on and on about this as it one such experience for me where I am learning with each passing day.
When I play with you in the nets, I keep a close watch on the smallest of techniques that you apply while batting. With Steve, he brings in his different style of play and when Mahi bhai comes to the ground, all you hear is the crowd chanting ‘Dhoni Dhoni’. That’s the kind of aura he is.
For me it is a great learning curve as all the hard work that I have put in at my club cricket, I only want to improve on it by learning, how much ever I can, with you people being around.
When the two of us open, being at the non-striker’s end and watching you play a shot with the straight bat is a learning for me. Also, the conversation in the middle, when you tell me things like achcha jaa rahe ho automatically brings in that confidence in me to go out and perform.
Ajinkya – I think today I got to learn a lot from you as well. Talking about Mahi bhai’s innings. What are your thoughts about his knock today?
Rahul – When I used to watch Mahi bhai finish games on television, it looked as if it was an easy task, but after having spent time with him on and off the field, I realise that his level of calmness under pressure is what one needs to learn. The kind of shots that he played today as soon as he came out in the middle were unbelievable. I can only keep learning as much as I can in his presence.
Rahul – Ajinkya, it is a great experience for me to open the RPS innings with you, but you have opened for India and you are one of Team India’s best openers. But, when you got to know about opening with me, what was your reaction like?
Ajinkya – I was pretty excited to open with you. With each player you get to learn something or the other. I did watch you bat in the nets and watched you play a few shots and therefore when I got to know that you will be opening the innings with me, I was quite eager to go out there and bat with you. I always believe that you can learn something or the other from your partner and I did learn a lot from the kind of innings that you played today.
Rahul – It is an honour for me. Talking about your batting and the cricketing shots that you play, do you not get tempted to go all out and hit balls out of the park in this format of the game?
Ajinkya – It does happen a lot of times when I’m tempted to play such shots, especially in the first six overs when you know you have to score the maximum amount of runs. But, my style of batting is different, as my strength is timing and I focus more on that. Even in the nets I focus more on my shape while batting and the balance while playing the shot and that I believe has proved successful for me.
Also, I would like to add that IPL is a platform which provides the youngsters with a lot of opportunity. The young guns get a chance to perform in front of international bowlers and learn from them. In our team we have Rahul, then there are the Pandya brothers in Mumbai Indians, Rishabh Pant in Delhi Daredevils, these boys have been performing well this season.
Personally, I feel that I got to learn a lot because of IPL as I had first come in as a fairly young cricketer and got an opportunity to learn from the best in the business.