He was billed as the Tuljapur Express, hailing from a pious town in Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district, during India’s victorious Under-19 World Cup campaign at the start of the year. Then came allegations about age-fudging, which coincided with him tending to his ailing mother.
A fat paycheck at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, by the Chennai Super Kings, was to follow. If 2022 wasn’t happening enough for Rajvardhan Hangargekar, the lanky pacer starred in Maharashtra’s Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign.
The young pacer who consistently bowls at 140+ kph, opens up ahead of his anticipated Ranji Trophy debut.
On his targets in maiden Ranji season
I hit a length that’s rewarding irrespective of the format. I have also been working on reverse swing with the older ball. I am excited to make my debut but I also realise that I should not get carried away. It may sound cliche, but I will try and keep it simple and stick to the basics. If I can do that, it will hold me in good stead and will help the team immensely.
On his learnings from Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy
The biggest lesson I learnt was how to create wicket-taking opportunities. In junior cricket, it was much easier. Over here, I had to work my way into getting batters to play falser strokes. I am glad that I could improve as both the tournaments went along. Before the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, I had not played too many T20s, so the experience will come handy in my future endeavours.
On dealing with age-fudging allegations
I had completely switched myself off from that topic. Even earlier, there were a few incidents that may have distracted myself from cricket but my nature is such that I have clarity about my goals. I never sway away from my goals, my game, my family, my coaches and my close friends. All I did was since I was not involved in any wrongdoing, I should not take any cognisance of it. I was focused on my tasks and thankfully, my support group has stood right behind me.
On his unique run-up, termed “faulty” by many experts
I have realised that I should stick to what works best for me. It’s more important to be effective with the ball rather than being pleasing to the eye. I have developed a rhythm into my bowling by working hard over the years, so I don’t feel it’s necessary to change the run-up only for looking good.
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