The cricketing community was recently buzzing with interest as Rajat Patidar grabbed attention following his inclusion in the final eleven of Team India for the second Test against England at Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam.
During the toss, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma elected to bat and also made three changes to India’s playing XI from the Hyderabad Test. This Test marked Patidar’s debut for India, and he was presented with his debut cap by former cricketer and legendary pacer Zaheer Khan.
With this development, let’s explore the remarkable journey of Patidar, delving into his background, accomplishments in domestic cricket, and the significant moments that culminated in his selection in Team India’s playing XI.
Early life and background
Born in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on June 1, 1993, Patidar showed early promise in cricket, joining a club at the age of 8. Under the guidance of his grandfather, he transitioned from bowling to focus on batting during his U-15 days. Patidar attended New Digamber Public School in Indore before graduating from Indore University.
Start of cricketing journey
Patidar’s cricketing journey commenced with his first-class debut in the 2015–16 Ranji Trophy. He later made his Twenty20 debut for Madhya Pradesh in the 2017–18 Zonal T20 League. Notable performances, including being the leading run-scorer for Madhya Pradesh in the 2018–19 Ranji Trophy, marked his early career.
Challenges in the IPL
Despite his success in domestic cricket, Patidar encountered hurdles in the Indian Premier League (IPL). In February 2021, he was acquired by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) but had a disappointing season, managing only 71 runs in four games. Consequently, he was released ahead of the 2022 season.
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Undeterred, Patidar’s fortunes took a turn for the better in the 2022 IPL season. Initially going unsold in the auction, he was later signed by RCB as a mid-season replacement. Patidar seized the opportunity, showcasing his batting prowess by scoring 333 runs in 8 games at an impressive average of 55 and a strike rate of 152.75.
During the Eliminator match against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), Patidar played a pivotal role by scoring an impressive unbeaten 112 runs off just 54 balls. This remarkable innings etched Patidar’s name in history as he became the first uncapped player to achieve a century in the playoffs stage of the IPL.
Debut for India
Patidar’s stellar performance in the IPL caught the attention of selectors, leading to his inclusion in the One-Day International (ODI) squad for series against South Africa and New Zealand. Though he initially missed out on a spot in the playing eleven, Patidar finally made his ODI debut on December 21, 2023, against South Africa, where he scored 22 runs in 16 balls.
Maiden Call-up to Test Cricket
The Visakhapatnam Test match against England marked a significant milestone in Patidar’s career as he realized his dream of representing India in the oldest format. His consistent dedication and outstanding performance in domestic cricket, coupled with a remarkable IPL season, earned him a well-deserved spot in Team India’s playing eleven.