CHENNAI: The 22-year-old from Andhra drew attention in Ranji Trophy 2014-15, when he became the first wicketkeeper-batsman to score a triple century. But that is in the past. With the likes of Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthick falling off the radar, Srikar Bharat has emerged the one to look out for.
Rated highly by mentor MSK Prasad, who is also part of the national selection committee, Bharat had another impressive season for Andhra Pradesh, which brought him into national limelight. He feels playing for the Rest of India changed his outlook towards the game. “Earlier, I used to bat only with my perspective in mind. But now, I have started thinking like a bowler. That helps me remain calm and concentrate.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the TNCA Plate final which his team Young Stars lost, he added that he benefited also from a training stint in Mumbai with famous names. “Ten days of good practice in Mumbai is really worth it because when you see players like Rohit (Sharma) or Sachin (Tendulkar) next to you, your confidence goes up. If Zaheer (Khan) bowls, you go home thinking I played Zak today. That helps confidence.”
Part of the Delhi Daredevils last season, Srikar has no regrets over not getting selected this time. “I believe in ruthless cricket. That’s what made me come to Chennai. I look into the fact that I didn’t perform in T20s and wish I converted chances because that would have got me the contract. But it’s okay.”
One can imagine the thought process of a 22-year-old, but Srikar is not the happy go lucky youngster. “I’ve to improve and become a better player in shorter formats. But sometimes you have to be true to yourself. If I sit back and keep rambling about the fact that I’m an IPL player, then I’m not moving forward.”
Srikar is clear about what he is doing. “If you are there (IPL), it’s good. If not, there’s a plan B. If you’re playing three formats, you have to be fit. Systematic practice and a trainer is important. I’ll give my 100 per cent and work on fitness during off season.”
India Pistons Champs
India Pistons won the SR Jagannathan Trophy for the Plate Group title in the TNCA First Division League. They won on better quotient and run rate.
Brief scores: Young Stars 471/9 decl drew with India Pistons 465/8 (GV Vignesh 124, S Suresh Kumar 80, Ganapathi Chandrasekar 86; L Ganesh 3-117).