Visakhapatnam, Feb 2: India’s debutant batter Rajat Patidar looked very solid in his innings of 32 off 72 balls, before becoming one of the six batters to fall on Day One of the second Test at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Friday.
Patidar was drafted into the India squad after Virat Kohli pulled out due to personal reasons. But with K.L Rahul out of the second Test due to right quadriceps pain, there was an opening for a specialist batter in the playing eleven. Patidar got the nod ahead of Sarfaraz Khan to make his Test debut and received his cap from former India left-arm fast-bowler Zaheer Khan.
In his knock, he thrilled fans by reverse-sweeping and driving inside-out against Joe Root for boundaries. Patidar, 30, is a late bloomer and gave an assured look as a specialist batter in the red-ball format before falling in an unusual fashion. The ball went behind after he defended it with soft hands against leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed in the 72nd over and hit the stumps.
"If I say my innings, it was good, but I have to make it big. Waiting for so long is common in Indian cricket. There are a lot of players. I was just focusing on things that were in my hands. So, year at the age of 30 I came here, feeling pretty good," said Patidar in the post-match press conference.
Patidar was with India ‘A’ squad playing against England Lions in Ahmedabad and made 151 off 158 balls in the first four-day match in a pressure situation last month, after scoring a ton in the two-day practice game. He felt playing in those games gave him a lot of confidence.
“It was a dream come true moment for me. Representing the country is a dream for every player. Going into the middle, there was no pressure as I have played a lot of games in domestic cricket. I slept well last night. It was normal for me.”
“I have also played two series at the A level (against New Zealand and England). It gives a lot of confidence when you play at that level. I gained in confidence playing against the Lions (last month). The two hundred against the Lions (in Ahmedabad) were very crucial for me.”
Speaking of Yashasvi Jaiswal’s unbeaten 179, Patidar said, “We (him and Yashasvi) were talking about taking the game as long as possible. Talking about Yashasvi, he is a very good player. The way he takes on the bowlers, he has a special ability in him. The wicket is really good to bat on. We will try to bat as long as we can.”