New Delhi: On January 27, Rahul Tripathi's life changed forever. Despite having a base prize of Rs 20 Lakh, the Pune resident fetched a whopping Rs 3.4 Crores from Rajasthan Royals in the IPL auction in Bengaluru. But the 27 year old is determined not to let the recent success get to his head.
"I think the money is being taken care of by my dad. I am just happy to play as playing cricket is more important for me now," says Tripathi.
Describing the scenes at his house on the auction day, he says: "Yes, my parents were tracking the auction. They were happy that their son has gone to a good team. But they were like: 'Humare bete ka kya hoga, kaunse team me jayega' but eventually, they were very happy the way the auction panned out for me."
Last year, when Rising Pune Supergiant made the final of the IPL, Tripathi played his part to the perfection, scoring 391 runs at an impressive strike rate of 146. Numbers show hitting comes naturally to Tripathi. He had even slammed six sixes in an over in a domestic tournament, not once but twice! However, Tripathi says he had no "particular strategy" for slogging.
"No particular strategy, I just prepared myself to play according to the ball. Didn't think much like 'I need to do this or that.' I just practised hard and knew what shot I wanted to play. I just concentrated on the ball better and how the ball will come onto the bat. That's it," said Tripathi.
Tripathi had humble beginnings. The amount of money received at such a young age can affect any youngsters. But not Tripathi who is more than happy to get an opportunity to showcase his talent on a big stage.
"IPL is a great opportunity for youngsters like us to go out and play some of the finest bowlers in international cricket. I just wanted to repeat the way I played last year. So the money wasn't a big factor for me. For me, it was an opportunity to play at such a big stage and get recognised for it," he asserts.
Like any other budding cricketer Tripathi too dreams of playing for India someday. But he knows, with the likes of KL Rahul already waiting in the wings, breaking into the current Indian team as an opener is not going to be easy.
"Yes, I am going to work hard this time. And definitely if I keep performing well, then who knows I will soon get the opportunity to represent my country," Tripathi added.
It was Steve Smith who was his captain when he played his first game in IPL for Pune last year. When asked about the recent ball-tampering incident which has tarnished the image of former Australia captain, Tripathi refuses to opine his views.
"It's an unfortunate incident and that's all I can say about it," he signed-off.