It has been a season to remember for Uttarakhand. Playing first-class cricket for the first time, the side has entered the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy. 

But when it takes on Vidarbha in the milestone fixture, it will be missing the services of its captain Rajat Bhatia. The seasoned campaigner, who shifted base to Uttarakhand this season, will be travelling to Hawaii to pursue a course on human bio-mechanics.

“I did the first stage last year, when I skipped the whole domestic season. This year, I was supposed to do the course in November but I requested them to postpone it to January. Unfortunately, the dates are clashing with the quarterfinals. So, I won’t be available for the quarterfinals,” Bhatia told  Sportstar .

Vineet Saxena will lead Uttarakhand in the quarterfinals in his absence. But if the team makes it to the semifinals, Bhatia will be back to take charge.

ALSO READ | Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Uttarakhand enters quarterfinals

Bhatia is happy with the way the team has fared so far.

“This is a new side and we had some very talented cricketers. But the only thing me and the coach (KP Bhaskar) realised was that these guys were playing too much of T20 cricket. So, when they came to red ball cricket, it was a different ball game. But they adapted really well and we kept winning matches,” Bhatia said.

Uttarakhand was unbeaten in the plate group. “There were some weaker sides but the learning part will be useful for our boys. We deserved to be the champion of the plate group,” he added.

But now that the team will be playing against the defending champion, what are his thoughts?

“Now, we will play the defending champion team. I hope we don’t portray a picture where we look like an immature team. We will give our best and who knows we might turn the tables,” Bhatia hoped.