IPL 2020: From Sihi to Sharjah, Rahul Tewatia has had a rollercoaster trip
The journey from Sihi (Haryana) to Sharjah is no one-night wonder for Rahul Tewatia
Rahul, naam to suna hi hoga! Rahul Tewatia is the name which is making a buzz all around in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL). Tewatia’s knock of 53 off 31 balls against Kings XI Punjab helped Rajasthan Royals register their highest-ever chase in the history of the tournament.
But do you know the journey from Sihi (Haryana) to Sharjah is no one-night wonder for Tewatia. From humble childhood to struggling hard for every chance, Rahul Tewatia made it to Sharjah through absolute grit and willpower.
We can say that sports run in the blood of Rahul as the Tewatia family is no stranger to this field. His grandfather was a wrestler and his uncle was a hockey player. Rahul chose his own path and took to cricket as a career. He began as a leg spinner at a local academy and in no time, he honed skills as a batsman and fielder too and whom did he impress first? Another Rahul: Rahul Dravid.
Dravid who was coaching Rajasthan Royals in 2014 was the first to spot him. Tewatia was at the KSCA for a tournament and played well for Haryana which resulted in RR grabbed him in 2014. Before joining IPL, Tewatia made his First-class debut in 2013 for Haryana. However, it didn’t make his mark as he remained wicketless and managed to score only 17 runs. His First-class career didn't was that impressive as he has played only seven games in as many as years.
Tewatia's childhood coach Vijay Yadav, a former India wicketkeeper, told IANS, "He was always a graceful batsman but somehow players do get into the mould where they want to specialise in one thing. He always considered himself a leg-spinner and focused more on bowling. But then he began to take his batting seriously when he saw he will move forward only with it. Besides, his leg-spin wasn't of the quality of other two Haryana spinners (Yuzvendra) Chahal and (Amit) Mishra. So, I told him to focus on batting. I told him that only batting will take him ahead. For Haryana, I always saw him getting key runs and wickets. In 2016-17, we used him as a batsman for Haryana in shorter formats."
Meanwhile, the 27-year-old staged rather steady performances in white-ball cricket. On his List A debut, he played a match-winning knock of 62 runs as Haryana chased 230 against Odisha. His all-round performance over the years has made him Haryana's prime player. So far, he has bagged 27 wickets and scored 484 runs from 21 List A games.
Soon after making his First-class debut, he was signed by RR ahead of the IPL 2014. He could play mere three games that season. Later, he was acquired by Kings XI Punjab but didn’t play many matches there. He then moved for Delhi Capitals in the following two seasons before he returned to his first club, RR (2020).
This season so far, Rahul has played seven matches where 300 runs have come from his willow at the strike rate of 140 while he has also bagged five wickets at the economy of 7.90.
Trivia: He became only the second player to have smashed five sixes in an over, in the IPL. He achieved the milestone in the 18th over bowled by Kings XI Punjab’s Sheldon Cottrell. Notably, only Chris Gayle has achieved this feat before, in a game against Pune Warriors India in 2012.