Utility Man Gets Noticed At Last
By N Jagannath Das | ENS | Published: 20th January 2014 09:11 AM |
Utility all-rounder Rajat Bhatia of Delhi is one of the unsung heroes of Indian cricket. A medium pace bowler and a hard-hitting batsman, the 34-year-old has been one of the most consistent performers in domestic cricket.
Bhatia has excelled for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and for Delhi in Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments. Despite his abilities, he has never found a place in the Indian team. Now, it seems the selectors have noticed his all-round abilities and named him in the 30 probables for the T20 World Cup.
“It did surprise me, but it was a good surprise. You will definitely feel good when you see your name in the list of probables. I’m happy that the selectors have acknowledged my efforts. I have to see whether I can make it to the 15. The performances are there to back me,” said Bhatia. Bhatia said that despite performing consistently over the last seven or eight years, he has never been called even to a national camp. “I never got a chance to train at the National Cricket Academy or never found myself in the list of contract players. But now I have got a chance, and hopefully I can make it to the squad and prove my worth,” he said.
The all-rounder has been a key player in the IPL, more as a bowler. “I bat lower down the order and hardly a chance in all the matches. If I get a chance higher in the order, I can perform.”
As a medium pacer, his basic role is to keep the run rate down. “It’s all about variations. I have learnt over the years and I have been good with the slower ones. I thereby put pressure on the opposition. This helps the bowler on the other end, who gets the wickets. I have jelled very well with Sunil Narine while playing for the Knight Riders. Narine got a lot of wickets as we bowled tight from both ends,” he noted.
Bhatia said playing on flat pitches and in small grounds in Delhi has helped him master the variations. “It is a big challenge to bowl on flat wickets and small grounds for Air India in Delhi. On those wickets, it is difficult for any bowler to take wickets and stop runs. But I have enjoyed this challenge and this has helped to me learn the variations. I bowl wicket to wicket. There are fast bowlers who bowl fast. I bowl the slower variety. I vary my line and length. Sometimes the batsman finds it difficult to hit against my slower deliveries. T20 is about sixes and fours, conceding a single is a good delivery. I have to be clever with the ball,” he pointed out.
|More on Cricket Click Here|