Rajat Patidar scored 319 runs from three unofficial Tests at an average of 106.33 including two hundred on his India A debut against New Zealand A.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has always been known for producing precociously talented players from several parts of India and the world. IPL is one of the most valuable sporting leagues of the world which time and again proves to be a magical platform for young players to compete against world-class players. This enables the players to understand whether they are just a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. One such player who has risen like a true champion ever since IPL 2022 has been Rajat Manohar Patidar.
Superb performances in knockout games in IPL & Ranji Trophy 2022
The Madhya Pradesh batter, Indore-born Rajat Patidar made his Ranji Trophy debut way back in 2015 against Baroda. The stylish right-hander scored a 127-ball 100 in his very first match. Rajat has been consistently playing impactful innings since then but unfortunately went unnoticed. Things turned upside down for him in IPL 2022, where he scored a match-winning 112* off 54 balls for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the eliminator.
Rajat Patidar topped it up by scoring 58 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Eliminator 2, which made everyone believe and more importantly, made Rajat himself believe that he could score, and score under pressure. Patidar then took the confidence of his IPL innings and carried it forward to Ranji Trophy 2022, where he had a dream run. Showing his class all over and the ability to perform under pressure, Patidar scored 85 and 79 against Punjab and Bengal, respectively, in the quarter final and semi-final games, respectively. But Patidar didn’t stop there. Rajat scored a magnificent 122 in the first innings and a crucial 30* in the second innings in the all-important final of Ranji Trophy against Mumbai, which helped Madhya Pradesh win their first-ever Ranji title. Rajat Patidar scored a whopping 658 runs in the entire tournament, which earned him a debut call-up for the India A team.
Makes a big debut for India A – Emerges as series’ second-highest run-scorer against NZ A
Playing his first game for India A, Rajat looked like he belonged there. Showing his array of shots, impeccable timing and patience, he scored a mammoth 176 runs in the first match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, which helped India A post a mind-boggling first innings score of 571-6d. Though the match ended in a draw, everyone got glimpses of what is to come for young Patidar.
The second unofficial Test was declared a draw thanks to the rain gods. The third and final match was the decider, and as they say, cometh the hour, cometh the man! Rajat Patidar rose to the spotlight again by scoring 109* in just 135 balls. Patidar hit 15 glorious boundaries (13 fours and two sixes), which consisted of all the shots in the coaching manual: the front foot defence, the cover drive, the square drive, the straight drive, the flick and what not! He was joined in by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Maharashtra opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who missed out on his century by just six runs and scored 94 off 164 deliveries. This was also Patidar’s third hundred in three months at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, which has become a happy hunting ground for the right-handed batter.
Other debutants for India A - Tilak Varma and Mukesh Kumar - also showcased their ability to deliver on the big stage. A super 9-wicket match haul from Uttar Pradesh spinner Saurabh Kumar helped India A clinch the match and the series by a margin of 1-0 against a talented New Zealand squad.
Later, Patidar spoke to the media about his dream run and how he transitioned from the IPL to Ranji Trophy to India A success.
"If you have the game to do well in red-ball and white-ball cricket, you should be able to do well," he said. "You have to make the changes accordingly. For instance, you need a different bat-speed for T20 cricket compared to the longer format, in which you have to slow it down."
About his ability to pace a long innings, he said that is needed in today’s cricket. "You need awareness about match situations, and that has helped me," he said.
While several players fail to leverage their purple patch, Rajat Patidar has just shown the world how to grab opportunities and knock the selectors' doors with such solid and consistent performances. If the door won’t open, break it down!
Patidar’s knocks in the IPL eliminators have given a massive boost to his confidence and that is now reflecting in his shot-making decisions. What stands out in Patidar’s case is not the runs, but the moments where he has scored those runs.
A hundred for RCB in Eliminator 1 of IPL 2022 against LSG followed by a quickfire fifty in Eliminator 2 against RR, two fifty-plus scores in knockout games in Ranji Trophy 2022 and a match-winning hundred in the final, topped up by two centuries in three India A games, can only mean one thing – this bloke can absorb pressure like a sponge and thrive under difficult situations. Whether Patidar now goes and makes it big on the international scene is something the cricket pundits will be keeping an eye on. But whatever it might be, the kid sure has the finesse, the mental attitude and the right technique to convert the India A jersey into an India jersey sooner than later.