By Baidurjo Bhose
Dubai [UAE], September 28 (ANI): Rahul Tewatia was the star of the show on Sunday night as he joined hands with Sanju Samson to help Rajasthan Royals to chase down the highest-ever total in the history of the Indian Premier League. But the all-rounder says it was a pure reflection of the faith skipper Steve Smith and the RR management had shown in him leading into the tournament.
Speaking to ANI, Tewatia said that he was termed the 'game-changer' by the team and it was only about reposing the faith shown in him by a team that has stars like Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Samson among others.
"You either grab an opportunity or get bogged down by it. Smith and team told me I am their 'game-changer'. So, it was my duty to ensure that I repose their faith. When the team and a stalwart like Smith backs you, the job is anyway half done. I am blessed to be a part of the RR family," he smiled.
But the start wasn't that smooth and memes had started to flood social media when Tewatia struggled to connect. Yet, the all-rounder believes it was always about that one hit.
"No doubt I struggled initially. But what kept me going was that I always knew I was one hit away. Once I hit that first six, I knew the flow had come. Also, it was always at the back of my mind that even though I might have missed a few balls to begin with, a few sixes would bring us back in the game," he explained.
Sam Billings famously spoke about Tewatia doing a Dhoni, but for Tewatia it is just the beginning. "I want to make this a habit. I want to win games for my team and trust me the focus is on being consistent. The journey has only just begun," he said.
But how has he managed to stay in rhythm when even the best have struggled to get into the groove post the lockdown? The all-rounder says it is due to the hardwork put in by the Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) behind the scenes during the corona-induced break.
"HCA has been brilliant. Even the best sportsperson can lose focus in such times, but they kept a tab on us, especially Anirudh Chaudhry sir. Be it checking on our diet or our fitness, he would personally speak to the required personnel as well as the players to ensure that there was no interruption in our training cycle. He also keeps the atmosphere lively and encourages everyone's sense of humour.
"It can get daunting to be training on the roof and staying indoors, but the HCA ensured we had mental conditioning classes to keep us prepared for these tough situations. In fact, despite the Haryana team boasting of three international spinners, sir has time and again pushed me to go that extra mile so that I am an automatic choice in the XI. The focus in HCA is on player development," he revealed.
The all-rounder also thanked coach Vijay Yadav for taking extra care of him. "Never heard a no from him whenever I wanted to work on finer nuances of my game. When you are playing at this level, frame and bat swing and these things make a lot of difference and Vijay sir has always treated me like his own and given me maximum attention. I know even if I call him at 2 am to discuss a cricketing point that is bothering me, he will speak with me," he said.
While the world has taken note of Tewatia after Sunday's knock, the youngster is proud that his father appreciated his effort over phone after the innings.
"He is an advocate, but would make time to always drop me to training. So, a few years back, I decided to go and see where he works. It broke my heart that he would sit under a tin roof and work. That is when I decided his sacrifices cannot go to waste. To get a call from him and for him to tell me he is proud of my knock is my biggest gift. Nothing like making the family smile," he signed off. (ANI)