Rahul Tripathi did not have the best of Ranji Trophy last season. The Maharashtra batsman managed to score only 185 runs in 11 matches at an average of 16.81. Not surprisingly, he was a relatively unknown name when he replaced Mayank Agarwal in the Rising Pune Supergiant after the latter failed to make his chances count in the first few games of this year’s Indian Premier League.
It was a God-sent opportunity for Rahul and he fully cashed in on it, scoring 391 runs in 14 games at a strike-rate of over 146 and showing that he belongs to the highest level of the game.
The consistent performances in the IPL are now doing wonders for him, as despite an average domestic season, he has now been picked in the squad for the Board President’s XI for the warm-up game against Australia scheduled to be played on September 12. The right-handed batsman now feels playing against Australia is a chance for him to up his level.
“It is a big opportunity for me to go a level up. ‘A’ or tour games Playing for India strengthens your chances of playing for the country. Although, I didn’t have a good Ranji season last year, I played well in the IPL. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I was expecting an opportunity based on my IPL performance.Having said that, I feel getting to play in the BP XI against Australia is bigger than my expectations,” Tripathi told The Times of India.
There were no assignments for Tripathi after the IPL, but instead of enjoying the time off, he went to Chennai and played for India Pistons in the TNCA first division league.
“I didn’t want to waste the time by doing nothing. I wanted to remain in touch with cricket and work on my fitness at the same time. The Tamil Nadu senior division league is a good competition to prepare for the Ranji season ahead,” he said.
Tripathi also expressed his delight over Surendra Bhave’s return as Maharashtra coach.
“I have been working with Bhave sir at the camp. He has taught me a lot over the last many years, and I am glad that he is back as Maharashtra coach. I have been working on my shot selection with him. The basics are the same, but the shot selection makes all the difference in shorter and longer formats. He is helping me with the process,” he said.
Tripathi, who was Steve Smith’s trump card in the IPL, is excited to meet his IPL captain.
“He has taught me a lot, now playing against him would be a good experience. I will be happy to meet him again,” Tripathi said.