IPL auctions: Decoding Kedar Jadhav, Rahul Tripathi

Kedar and Rahul started their cricket at the Deccan Gymkhana ground in Pune; ahead of the IPL auctions, in-house coaches Hemant Athalye and Kedar Joglekar helped Sportstar understand the duo’s flair and temperament.

Kedhar Jadhav played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2017 and 2017 seasons of the Indian Premier League.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

“You carry the stumps, I will carry the balls,” cricket coach Hemant Athalye instructed his wards, after his regular session on a Friday morning, at the Deccan Gymkhana ground here.

Every day, the veteran trainer sets the nets at sharp 6:30 am and finishes his job by 8.30 am. In the evening, it’s his friend Kedar Joglekar, who repeats the drill with a different batch.

Athalye and Joglekar have been doing this for years. In the process, two champion cricketers sprang out of their closet which earned them recognition — present India all-rounder Kedar Jadhav and Rahul Tripathi, an IPL discovery.

Read: Cricketing minnows chasing big dreams

Tripathi made his debut last season. He smashed 391 runs in 14 games for Rising Pune Supergiant, now a defunct franchise. Jadhav has been wearing the Royal Challengers Bangalore jersey since 2016. But this time, both the players are back in the auction pool and most likely to be picked. This correspondent spoke to the coaches to understand the duo’s temperament and game.

Early days

“Kedar first came here during his U-15 days. He continued with this club throughout his junior cricket career — U-19, U-23 to Ranji Trophy. Now, he has moved to the PYC (the neighbouring club),” Athalye told Sportstar, while sipping his morning tea.

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He feels Kedar still has the same approach. “He is a natural cricketer. His flamboyance is his asset. Woh jaisa tha ekdam waisa hi hai (he is still the same character). I remember benching him in one of the U-19 games because he was a stroke player. There was no T20 that time, so the selectors were a bit conservative too,” he recalled.

Athalye also highlighted a crucial aspect of Kedar’s character — his ability to make most out of opportunities. “He had scored 195 against Kerala, when he got a chance in the Cooch Behar Trophy. It was at the old Nehru Stadium here.”

"Rahul (Tripathi) is trying to get noticed through the IPL, as there is no other choice now. Hitting every ball is not his game. He used to be known for building an innings."

He also revealed that Jadhav — a batsman first — developed off-spin, wicket-keeping as well as seam bowling. “He is a quick learner. He has also bowled seam. I remember him using the new ball in club matches. Thoda swing bhi karwata tha (he used to swing the ball a bit as well).

Hemant Athalye from his coaching sessions at the Deccan Gymkhana in Pune.   -  Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya


Now, the thing is, he was always a batsman and he developed these skills. He learnt with time and kept wickets in the IPL,” he added. Kedar’s shots never had slots. “Even if the team is 10/4, he won’t be bogged down. He always believes in dominating. His confidence is his key. When he was not getting selected in the Maharashtra team, he used to tell me that he could prove himself with just one chance. He thinks there is nobody who can dismiss him. Many a times he told me, Sir, unke saamne toh main kar doonga (Sir, I can easily score against them),” shared Athalye.

'The hard working' player

Tripathi is a loved figure in the Maharashtra cricketing circles for his work ethics. Athalye calls him ‘the hard working cricketer’. “With Kedar, it is different. His mental strength is more as he can switch on and off immediately. Rahul would work hard and excel. At the nets, we actually had to drag him out; he would go on batting from the afternoon to evening,” he remembered.

Also read: IPL — Of auctions, job vacancies and communication

The IPL-style of play is not Rahul’s natural game according to his coach. “He is trying to get noticed through the IPL, as there is no other choice now. Hitting every ball is not his game. He used to be known for building an innings. Since his U-19 days, he scored a lot of runs under pressure. But these days, a player is only successful if he can adapt. There also have been many players who did well in IPL but vanished after two seasons. Swapnil Asnodkar (Goa) being one of them,” Athalye concluded.

Rahul Tripathi had his maiden tryst with the Indian Premier League with now defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017.   -  Vivek Bendre

Joglekar, who we later spoke over the phone, recollected welcoming a 12-year-old Rahul at the gymkhana when his family moved to Pune. “His father is in the military and he was posted here. Since he was also a good student, his father was confused whether to push him into academics or let him play. But Rahul worked hard and proved his cricketing credentials,” said Joglekar, who still meets Tripathi at the nets in the evening.

Rahul in IPL numbers





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“His technique is perfect now. Now, I am trying to prepare him mentally. In today’s cricket, style and technique being perfect isn’t enough, it is all about the mental game. A player should know how to take risks and handle pressure,” he added.

Joglekar referred to Jadhav as a ‘street-smart’ cricketer.

In the upcoming auction, Jadhav’s base price is Rs. 2 crore, while Tripathi (being an uncapped player) has set his price at Rs 20 lakh. And, they have plenty on their resume to turn a scout’s head.

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