R. Samarth's first overseas tour may have begun in the worst possible fashion but he returns from South Africa with his reputation considerably enhanced. In his debut innings for India 'A' earlier this month, in the first unofficial Test in Pretoria, the Karnataka batsman was run out off the first ball. In the second dig, he managed 24 as India 'A' sank to defeat by 235 runs.
But a few days later, the opener was at the vanguard of his side's resurgence, scoring a fifty in each innings as India 'A' leveled the two-match series in Potchefstroom. Samarth made 77 and 55 -- a vital effort in the run chase -- to claim the 'man of the match' award.
"It felt great but I was unhappy that I didn't get a hundred in one of the innings," he said here on Tuesday. "Apart from that, it was really special. It was a surprise [to be run out off the first ball in the opening match]. It was not totally my fault. We were tired after fielding for around 117 overs. These things happen but you shouldn't dwell on them too much because that will affect you. I was confident. I had prepared well for the wickets and conditions we got there."
Samarth added: "It was a great experience. The wickets were different, the weather was different. I had to adapt. I was really happy with the way Rahul (Dravid, India 'A' coach) sir and Karun (Nair, captain) helped me out. Even though I had a bad game in the first match, they had belief in me that I would do well."
Samarth hailed Dravid's impact. "He helped me a lot, especially with the mental aspect," he said. "He keeps you calm. He keeps the dressing room calm. There is no stress. It was a great experience for me to be a part of that dressing room."
The 24-year-old's adaptability will now be tested again as he switches formats, leading the Bengaluru Blasters side in the Karnataka Premier League. "Every professional must be adaptable and capable of playing all three formats," he said. "I can adapt quickly enough. I think the transition from red ball to white ball is not very difficult. It's important to have the basics in place."