Remember the Kanpur Test last year? He got just a few minutes to prepare before coming in as a substitute for Wriddhiman Saha in that Test against New Zealand on the third day, but he came up with three fine dismissals and kept the wicket commendably.
He has been the understudy wicketkeeper for India for quite some time now. He is also among the first names the selectors usually pencil in when they pick the India-A squad.
Besides doing a good job behind the wicket, he excels in front of it too, especially when the team is in trouble -- like he did here in the second ‘Test’ against New Zealand-A, which ended in a draw on Sunday. It was his century-stand for the fifth wicket with captain Priyank Panhal that helped the team recover from 68 for four, against a quality attack, in challenging conditions.
It seems Bharat relishes such situations. Back in June at Leicester, he had made an unbeaten 70 after to rescue India from 81 for five in the tour game against Leicestershire.
He knows he has to continue with performances like that to break into an Indian team that has so much depth. “You have to value your opportunities,” he said shortly after the final day’s play was called off here. “It is very easy to fade away or to sulk. But if your basics are good and if you believe in hard work and the current selection, you can be happy. In sport and life, patience is everything. As for me, I would like to put in my work and then leave the decision to (those who make it).”
About not getting many matches at this year’s IPL, following his switch to Delhi Capitals from Royal Challengers Bangalore, he said that was the way the IPL worked. “It is about combinations,” he said. “I feel lucky that I was picked by Delhi, a team which always backs youngsters. Playing along with Rishabh Pant you get a lot of knowledge, as he has played a lot of international cricket. I am happy at Delhi…Millions of youngsters do not even get an opportunity to sit in the dugout with an IPL team; so one should be happy.”
He had done well in the 2021 edition of the IPL, with RCB. “During the Covid lockdown, I had a different kind of practice, which helped me understand my T20 game better,” he said. “And I learnt a lot from the giants of the game like Virat Kohli, A.B. de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell at the RCB.”
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