Rawat: Dream to work with Rahul Dravid

Delhi wicketkeeper Anuj Rawat, 18, has scored a half century in each of his two First-Class games so far but, more than just the runs, it has been the manner in which they came that has impressed the experts and selectors in Delhi cricket.

Anuj Rawat has been drafted into the national Under-19 squad for the Asia Cup next month.   -  Sandeep Saxena

He scored a half century in each of his two First-Class games so far but, more than just the runs, it has been the manner in which they came that has impressed the experts and selectors in Delhi cricket. Wicketkeeper Anuj Rawat has now been drafted into the national Under-19 squad for the Asia Cup next month and already has a load of questions for the coach, who happens to be Rahul Dravid.

“It will be a great platform for me to perform and learn. Working with Rahul sir is like a dream come true, there are so may things to learn from him, so much to ask and understand in the game,” Rawat said after Delhi won its second Ranji Trophy game here on Tuesday.

Though he came in purely as a substitute for Statemate Rishabh Pant – both belong to Uttarakhand -- behind the stumps and is aware that he may have to make way once Pant returns, Rawat is keen to prove himself regardless. “I am trying to score as many runs as possible so that even when Rishabh bhaiya returns, I can hope to make the team as a batsman if not the wicketkeeper,” he had told Sportstar after his debut a week ago.

“Whether it is batting or wicketkeeping or anything else, there is a huge list of things I wish to learn from Rahul sir during my time with the Under-19 side. We start our camp next month in Bengaluru and I hope I get to ask them all,” Rawat said.

He realises that the Asia Cup could be the stepping stone for greater glories. Incidentally, two of his Delhi predecessors – Pant and Unmukt Chand – both made their first impressions at the Under-19 level, albeit at the World Cup. “Rishabh, Unmukt bhaiya all began with India Under-19 only before graduating to the national stage. I have now got a chance at the Asia Cup and, if I keep performing, hopefully make the cut for the World Cup and then take it on from there,” Rawat said.

Delhi captain Ishant Sharma, while praising Rawat, also cautioned that it was just the beginning for the 18-year old. “I think he is a very, very good batsman but we have to remember that he still has a long way to go. This is only his second First-Class game. It is too early to say anything. He will play more, he will also fail at times and learn from it all, this is just the beginning,” Sharma said.

Insisting that Rishabh Pant remained the primary wicketkeeper for Delhi, he added that a decision on how to play Rawat would be taken once both Rawat and Pant were available for selection. Coach KP Bhaskar, though, admitted that the team management had discussed the possibility of including him purely as a batsman once Pant returned.

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