Delhi and Daredevils all-rounder Rajat Bhatia is one of those cricketers, who has performed tirelessly in first class cricket, year after year without being considered for the national team. An attacking middle order bat and a medium pace bowler, Bhatia perfectly fits the bill as a seam bowling all-rounder that Team India are looking for. That he is capable of delivering the goods in the abbreviated format of the game for the country was well demonstrated at last year’s IPL, where he came up with some useful contributions while playing for Delhi Daredevils.
Zeecric.com’s Biswajit Jha caught up with the 29-year-old after a practice session at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla.
You are one of those unlucky players, who despite having played well in first class cricket, have never been considered for the national team. How do you motivate yourself?
I like playing cricket. The game itself motivates me. Playing for the nation is not in my hands, so I don’t think too much about it.
Do you think that you have a chance of playing for India in the near future?
Everybody who is playing domestic cricket in India has his chance of playing for the country and so do I.
You showed your usefulness in the first season of IPL while playing for Delhi Daredevils last year. How did IPL help you improve your game?
The IPL has really helped me in reshaping my career. Along with the limelight, it has also given us the opportunity to rub shoulders with greats of the game.
Tell me something about Australian great Glen McGrath. What did he tell you?
I can’t specifically recall anything, but yes, looking at him from close quarters is a lesson in itself. Despite being over 35 years in age and having personal problems (his late wife was in an advanced stage of cancer when he was playing lat year’s IPL), he gave his all to the game. It’s a real lesson for me…the commitment towards the game.
We, in India, promote only youngsters. Once a player crosses 25 he is considered to be wasted. What’s your view on that?
That’s the problem with our cricket. Look at the Australians…they almost never select any player before the age of 25. But, ironically, the obsession with the youngsters started when Greg Chappell became India’s coach.
Are you happy that even the domestic players are earning a lot of money these days after the advent of T20 cricket?
I am really happy. Now we are financially more secure while even playing in the domestic circuits.
Ashish Nehra will be playing for Delhi Daredevils this year. How will he make a difference to the team?
It’s great news for us. Nehra is a tremendously gifted player. Look at his career…he never got axed from Team India for non-performance. It’s really unlucky that he keeps getting injured.
Do you want to bat higher up the order in IPL since you are batting in lower-middle order?
I am happy in whatever my team wants from me. If the team thinks number 6 is my best position, I am okay with it.
Are you happy with your bowling?
I am happy with my present bowling form and I would like to contribute more with the ball in the coming IPL season. In one-day and T20 formats, one has to stick to the basics.