Rising Pune Supergiant opener Rahul Tripathi was an absolute revelation in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. Considered by many as one of the best finds of this season, the 26-year old did not look back since being promoted as an opener and justified the faith shown in him with a consistent display.
He was first included in the playing eleven during the Supergiant’s third match when he came out to bat at number four but another failure from Mayank Agarwal prompted the team management to try Tripathi out as an opener and the decision turned out to be a masterstroke, as the Maharashtra batsman scored 391 runs in 14 matches and played an integral part in Supergiant’s journey to the final of the tournament.
But instead of sitting on the past laurels, the right-handed batsman now wants to take his IPL form into the upcoming Ranji Trophy.
“The IPL has been an eye-opener. After taking a break for three weeks after the final, I have now started preparing for the Ranji Trophy. I am practising a lot more than what I used to. The aim is to maintain the same touch, add more shots to my repertoire and find more hitting zones. I have seen the difference in the level of fitness in international and domestic players. So I’m more focused on improving my fitness and getting into good shape. There is a change in my diet plan too. Since I am a vegetarian, I need to see that my protein intake is sufficient,” Tripathi told The Times of India in an interview.
Tripathi further said he would like to open the innings for his state. Till the last season, he used to come in at No. 4 or No. 5 for Maharashtra, but after tasting good success in the IPL, the right-handed batsman is willing to change his batting position.
However, he is under no illusion that IPL and Ranji Trophy are different ball games and has already started practising to improve his batting.
“I would definitely like to open the innings in first-class matches. But IPL and Ranji Trophy are different. I have to improve my defence and work on my scoring areas if I want to be successful in Ranji. Since you cannot hit the ball in the air from the outset in Ranji, I have to remain patient and choose my shots. My aim will be to build my innings. So I have already started to open the innings in local matches so that I can handle situations better during the Ranji Trophy,” Tripathi said.
Recalling his time in the IPL, Tripathi revealed how he received tips and inputs from Mahendra Singh Dhoni which has helped him to approach his batting in a different manner.
“During the IPL, Mahi bhai would guide me on how to construct my innings. He would tell me about the subtle changes between the different formats of the game and how I need to be calculative when I am playing the longer format. He told me how I can improve my running between the wickets. He told me how as an opener I need to deal with bouncers and respect a good spell of bowling. I also learnt from him how to counter the Yorkers and choose the correct ball to hit. He has completely changed my approach,” Tripathi pointed out.
With multi-dimensional players being the need of the hour, Tripathi is also keen to improve his bowling to contribute more for his team.
“I spoke to the Pune think tank and they have asked me to bring in a few variations in my bowling. I am focused to contribute for my team in every possible way,” Tripathi said.