Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Aniket focuses on helping Team Rajasthan win title

With 47 wickets from eight Ranji Trophy matches this season, Aniket Choudhary has emerged as a standout domestic performer.

Team Rajasthan pacer Aniket Choudhary in Bengaluru on Monday.   -  Ashwin Achal

With 47 wickets from eight Ranji Trophy matches this season, Aniket Choudhary has emerged as a standout domestic performer. The left-arm pacer’s dream run, which has included seven five-fors and two 10-wicket match-hauls, has played a big role in Rajasthan’s progress to the quarterfinal.

Despite the spectacular returns, Aniket went unsold in the recent IPL auctions. “Not being picked for the IPL is disheartening, because I’ve proved my worth this domestic season. I take my non-selection as motivation to perform even better. Now my focus is on helping Rajasthan win the Ranji Trophy,” Aniket said, on the eve of Rajasthan’s outing against Karnataka here on Monday.

READ: Rajasthan takes the ‘Mahi’ way

The IPL snub has left Aniket disappointed, especially since he has done more than what has been asked of him. In the last couple of years, he has worked hard and made big improvements to his fitness.

The 28-year-old is now markedly leaner, having shed several stubborn excess kilograms.

The importance of fitness was first revealed to him when he was invited to bowl in the Indian team nets ahead of the 2016 New Zealand series. His subsequent stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore (2016-18) only reinforced his will to make big lifestyle changes.

“I didn’t have much exposure when I was playing for Rajasthan. Then when I trained with the Indian team and RCB, I realised that while the physical training routine is more or less the same as what we did in Rajasthan, the diets were so very different. Diet is the most important thing in fitness. RCB arranged a DNA test, based on which I was given a diet plan. Just by following the diet plan, I got huge results,” Aniket said, “I now have a lot of energy, which is very useful for a fast bowler. Also, since I’m fit, I can play more matches, and this gives me more chances to perform.”

And who better to learn from than the supremely athletic India and RCB captain, Virat Kohli. “Kohli’s dedication to diet and fitness is unbelievable. I learnt a lot from him during my time with the Indian and RCB teams. He is such a big star, who has achieved nearly everything in the sport, yet he has an insatiable hunger to keep improving in all aspects of his game," Aniket said.

The fast bowler is keen to grab the spotlight with a good show on the big stage against Karnataka. “It's a televised game, against a strong team, so I am very eager to perform,” Aniket said.