Jaipur: The Indian Premier League (IPL) has given many domestic players the platform to show their worth, more so for players who have failed to don the national colours despite performing well over the years.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Rajat Bhatia is one such player. But he has accepted the reality and the bitterness in his voice can be felt when he talks about his lost chances.
“It does hurt when you don’t get into the national team despite performing well and keep hearing that the selectors don’t want to discuss my name. I know age is a big factor but I was never given a proper chance when I was young,” Bhatia told MAIL TODAY. “The selectors’ priorities have changed and everyone now wants to promote youngsters. But I don’t have ill-feelings towards young players and I am content giving my best in domestic cricket and IPL,” he said.
Bhatia said management companies play a very important role in players’ career these days and their interests are well looked after them, which makes players less susceptible and not go off the radar.
“The players are now advised by management companies and they are now made to be more prominent, even though their performance is not good. This is done to ensure they get a good run-in and players’ value doesn’t erode,” said Bhatia.
But Bhatia’s place in the Kolkata Knight Riders side is reserved and it can be easily seen from the contributions he has made since joining the team in 2011. Having known Gambhir since his school days - both studied in Modern School – Bhatia acknowledges he shares a good rapport with Gambhir and enjoys playing under his captaincy.
But he says that it wasn’t a factor in his joining the team as he was signed up before the players’ auction in 2011. For the record, Gambhir had given his man of the match trophy to Bhatia in an IPL match last year because he felt that his contribution was greater.
“Gambhir and I come from the same school and we’ve known each other for a long time. He has been an inspirational captain and I have enjoyed every moment while playing under him,” the 33-year-old player said.
“But he is very professional and he always has the best interests of the team in mind. We have fallen in love with Kolkata, and despite a lot of players coming from Delhi we’ve never faced a problem of acceptance.”
Bhatia also highlighted the role played by assistant coach Vijay Dahiya and said that his contribution to the side has been much.
“Vijay has been absolutely amazing and he acts as a link between the coach and us. Sometimes the local players don’t understand what the coach is saying and this is where Vijay steps in. He tries to address our needs and helps us keep or focus on the game,” he said.
Before joining Knight Riders, Rajat played for Delhi Daredevils for three seasons. But he doesn’t have fond memories of his last season with Daredevils.
“I had a good time with the franchise in the first two years but the last year wasn’t great. We didn’t perform well and there were too many changes in the support staff,” he pointed out.
On KKR’s current campaign, the all-rounder feels that they need to win maximum games in the initial stages so that the pressure eases off later. “We have to maintain this form and need to get a few wins on the trot as there are bound to be hiccups in the league. So we should aim to go for the maximum when the going is good,” he said.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.