The Indian cricket is going through a golden period. Every cricketer, representing India in the International side has a replacement ready at any time. There is a special opportunity for the young players to play IPL and get experience of international standards. This also allows newcomers to learn from the legends.
Anuj Rawat is a youngster from Uttarakhand, who is an important player for the Delhi team and a part of the IPL team Rajasthan Royals. He is a reliable wicketkeeper batsman and his idols are Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Australian batsman Adam Gilchrist. Anuj started playing in 2009. He used to play with his friends but did not like to watch the game. He wanted to take up cricket as a career and joined a cricket academy in Delhi in 2010. When he started to play well he got a contract for Ranji Trophy in 2017 where he met with many senior players and learned a lot more about the game. In an interview with News 18, Anuj spoke about his journey till now and his experiences.
Gautam Gambhir inspired passion for game
Anuj said that he got a lot to learn from Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma. He added that when Gautam bhaiya played, he played with passion and dedication, even after playing against big oppositions and in the Indian team. He learned for Gautam that no matter which stage you are in, small or big, the dedication and hard work should not be reduced.
Kumar Sangakkara and Adam Gilchrist are ideals
Adam Gilchrist and Kumar Sangakkara are his idols. Anuj said that he tries to learn from the way these players batted and kept wickets. He added, “When I started playing, at that time Sangakkara sir was at the top of wicket keeping. I, too, am a left-handed batter, so I used to try to learn a lot about how to grip the bat from him and how to play shots. I still learn all of this from watching his old videos.’
Trial for every team of IPL
Anuj said that he has given trials for every team in IPL and every match went well. In the auction, KKR and RR bid for him and he went to Rajasthan Royals. He also said, “Very happy to be in IPL because it is a platform where you get to play with and learn from the biggest cricketers of India and abroad. The delight grew even more when it was revealed that Sangakkara sir would be appointed as the director of the Rajasthan Royals. Got to learn a lot from him. He teaches a lot. He says that if you practice too much, nothing will happen. Practice as much as is needed, but practice right.”
Rahul Dravid motivated when he was not selected in the Under-19 World Cup
“I got a chance to play in Asia Cup, India A and Under-19 with Rahul Dravid sir. They are very friendly. I was not selected for the Under-19 World Cup. But before the selection, he had a talk with all the players. If you are not selected for the team, it does not mean you will be unable to represent India in the IPL or any other event. This is an opportunity, if missed, there will be many more opportunities ahead, but do not let your hard work fall short,” Anuj said.
Anuj added, “Rahul sir mentally is also very supportive. He is not very strict; he is very friendly. He always says that you play your game. It does not matter if you get out. That is part of the game but getting out in the same way repeatedly or repeating the same mistake over and over again is something to think about and needs to be worked on. Apart from this, Rahul sir gives everyone a chance. If you have gone on tour with him, then he tries his best to give you a chance to play. I want to work with him again.”
Ishant and Sanju as captains
Anuj Rawat said, “ There is no difference in captaincy between both Ishant and Sanju. It is necessary for the captain to take the whole team together. Both carry like this together. Do not differentiate between big and small players. Got a lot to learn with both. When I first had a chance in domestic, I was nervous since there were so many big players. I don’t know how to talk. Will I be able to grasp something or not? But got a chance to learn a lot from senior players. Especially from Gautam Bhaiya. He was very supportive during the domestic season. He used to tell me when I was wrong and used to praise me when I performed well.”
Impressed by Virat Kohli
Anuj Rawat was overjoyed when Virat Kohli was named captain of Team India. He stated that this gave him confidence and made him believe that he could perform well as well. This inspired him to improve. He also joined the West Delhi Cricket Academy, run by Rajkumar Sharma who coached Virat Kohli.
“Seeing his progression from Under-19 to today is extremely motivating. The mentor and senior member of the academy describes Virat Kohli’s journey and transformation, including how he worked really hard to get to this position. He inspired me a lot and gave me the courage to move forward,” Anuj said.
Competition in wicket keeping gives motivation to do better
“Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, KS Bharat so many wicket keepers are in the running. It never feels like I’m running out of opportunities. Everyone is here with their hard work. I, too, have arrived here as a reward of my efforts, and I aspire to play for India one day. Because there are so many players, the competition is healthy, and it keeps people motivated to work hard and do well. I practice wicket keeping. If I don’t practise or do wicket keeping, it appears that something is missing. I like to keep wickets.”
Rajasthan Royals will do wonders in IPL in UAE
On the performance of Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021, he said that our team Rajasthan Royals is doing very well in the IPL. All the team members are performing well. Now there is victory in the game. We are all working hard from our side. I am confident that our performance in Dubai will be even better, and that we will return, he added.
Likes Bio Bubble
Talking about BioBubble, Anuj said, “I don’t know about the rest of the players, I like Biobubble a lot. You only need to spend a few days in a different hotel room so that the team members may get to know one another, rehearse, and, most importantly, bond. The best thing is that there is a chance to play. I was very disappointed last year when the IPL was not happening, but when it was decided to take place in UAE, I regained my confidence. I do not mind the Bio Bubble. I love playing cricket and that’s where I am getting a chance to think and prepare myself mentally. There is no greater joy in my life than this.”
On the question of getting the contract in Ranji Trophy, he said that he is looking forward to the contract in Ranji Trophy. If this happens then he will be very happy. He said, “There are many players whose family runs from this. So it will be very good. My father is also a farmer. I bear my own expenses here in Delhi. In this case, it would be beneficial if the contract was signed.”
Cricket career of Anuj Rawat
Anuj has 925 runs at an average of 34.25 and a strike rate of 54.50 in 19 first-class matches. Likewise, he has played 15 List A matches, scoring 398 runs with a strike rate of 78.65 and an average of 39.79. Anuj has played 21 T20 matches so far though, scoring 334 runs with a strike rate of 118.02 and an average of 30.36.