‘I know what to do, focus on that’: Rajat Patidar ahead of India vs SA 1st ODI

He started playing cricket when he was about 9 years old. Growing up, he played for fun. But once he was picked for age group tournaments, he started to take the game seriously. And today, Rajat Patidar is part of the Team India roster selected for the three-game ODI series against South Africa which starts on Thursday, October 6.

For the batter from Madhya Pradesh, it was a dream come true when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the Indian squad on Sunday.

“I’m delighted to be in the Indian squad. It’s a dream come true for me because it’s everyone’s dream to represent the country. At the same time, I know what I have to do and I’m just focusing on that,” said Patidar. in an exclusive chat to ABP Live.

The batter had a great run for India A, as he hit 319 runs in four innings, including a century on his debut against New Zealand A.

The Indore player added: “I was actually thinking that maybe I would get a call from the Indian side, but I didn’t think it would happen so soon. Usually I don’t think about things that I can’t control. This selection process is not in my hands, all I can do is work hard. I try to be in the present, no matter what game I play, I always try to do my best. I don’t think much about the future.”

Shikhar Dhawan has been appointed as the team captain for Ind vs SA ODIs while Shreyas Iyer is the vice captain for this series.

Rajat is delighted to be among the cricket stars. “It feels great and I am excited to share the dressing room with the stalwarts of Indian cricket like Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer and all the senior players. They’ve been playing for India for a while so the amount of experience they have is unmatched. I will learn so many things from them.”

IPL Century and playing with Virat Kohli

The 29-year-old batter had a great IPL 2022 with Royal Challengers Bangalore, as he went on to score 333 runs in eight games at an average of 55.50. He also scored a century against Lucknow SuperGiants in Kolkata on May 25, 2022. He took just 49 balls to make 112 runs.

Patidar opened his feelings when he scored that century. “As I walked back to the pavilion after scoring a century in the IPL, all the players, including the RCB support staff, started to congratulate me. It was a surreal moment for me. Seeing those international players standing around to wish me, that moment gave me a lot of confidence. Even my opponents appreciated me after I got that century,” he said.

Rajat was delighted to have the opportunity to represent Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. He said: “When I heard that I will be representing Royal Challengers Bangalore, I was very happy.”

It was a big moment for him when he got to share the dressing room with Virat Kohli, Rajat said. “When you share the space with your idol, it’s a completely different feeling that cannot be expressed in words. I learned a lot from Virat Kohli like the way he prepares for the competition, the way he carries himself and his appearance is amazing. I see and notice these things in him and try to carry them out.”

He added: “I was honored to have the opportunity to show my finesse in the Indian Premier League. It feels so good to share the locker room with national and international cricketers around the world. It actually helps to gain trust.”

Cricket player from a business family

Rajat comes from a business family and is the first to start playing cricket. Until now, no one in his family had played cricket.

“My relatives are in business. But when they found out that I wanted to play cricket, they were very supportive. They never pressured me to get into the family business,” he confided.

The right-handed batter played 45 first-class games for Madhya Pradesh, scoring 3,230 runs. In List A cricket, he has amassed 1,462 runs. With a healthy hit rate of 142.31, Rajat has scored 1,194 runs in the 39 T20Is he has played to date.

Rajat continued his IPL form in the Ranji Trophy 2022 and helped his team take the title for the very first time. He made 658 runs using two centuries in nine innings.

“I grew up watching Naman Ojha, Ishwar Pandey and Devendra Bundela playing for Madhya Pradesh. I was privileged to have the opportunity to play with these legends for Madhya Pradesh. They are of a very friendly and helpful nature. If I had a problem, they were always there for me. The things I learned from them really helped me move forward in my career. They always shared their experiences with me and helped me grow as a player,” he stated.

India vs South Africa 1st ODI will be played on October 6 in Lucknow, while the second ODI will be played on October 9 in Ranchi and the third and final ODI on October 11 in Delhi.

Asked about his game plan if he gets into the playing XI, Rajat said: “I’m excited and following the same routine I’ve been following so far. I don’t want to experiment much. I want to continue the things I’ve always done as a player .”

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Ashish Satyam

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