Unsung Heroes

Amidst all the superstars, it is a pleasure to see players such as Rajat Bhatia and Siddarth Trivedi turn out regularly and make their performances count for their sides.

It is generally reckoned that cricket is a batsman’s game and it is difficult to argue against that notion, especially in the case of the T20 format. One has to have the pace of Dale Steyn, or be as street smart as R. Ashwin, or be full of guile and deception like Sunil Narine to not only be economical but also pick up wickets. These players belong to the minority in that they are extraordinary and capable of holding their own. However, the crowds come to watch batsmen hit the leather sphere into the stands more often than not.

The true pitches facilitate big hitting and as such, the batsmen always are in the limelight. However, there are a few bowlers who have done well for their sides without being in the media glare, and their contribution has been no less than those of the glamorous stars. At the end of the day, the respect they earn from their team-mates and their rivals will be the ultimate reward for their hard work.

I am referring to the silent yet efficient performers, Rajat Bhatia and Siddarth Trivedi, who figure in the thick of things and do their jobs under pressure for their respective sides. Such cricketers go through the grind in domestic cricket and since they are not capped, they do not figure in the auction. Hence, they don’t have any chance of garnering lucrative contracts. However, this does not in any way deter them from playing the game they love and enjoy day-in and day-out. Unlike some of the younger lot who pace themselves well in order to be fit for the IPL, the likes of Bhatia and Trivedi turn up for every game at all levels. Playing the game at every possible opportunity is perhaps their way of keeping fit as they are at a stage where a specific training regimen can be the least appealing option.

Trivedi and Bhatia are not quick, but their experience enables them to read the situation and the batsmen well enough to mix up their deliveries and deny scoring opportunities. Trivedi was sharp in his younger days but with age, he has come to rely on accuracy and variation of pace. Bhatia, on the other hand, was never quick even though he trained under Dennis Lillee in Chennai. He has been a very consistent all-round performer for Delhi and is very much like Madan Lal. In his early days, he played in Chennai and once he shifted to Delhi, it was admirable the way he established his place in the State team despite not being in the stream for a good 6 to 7 seasons. Like Bhatia, Trivedi shifted to Saurashtra once his home state, Gujarat, made it clear to him that he had given all that he had. It was a move that caused Trivedi a fair amount of anguish as well as anger, but the crafty old chap had enough chutzpah to ply his trade for his adopted state. It takes enormous passion in an individual to keep going in the evening of his career and even more so when he has to perform to retain his place.

The IPL provides both Bhatia and Trivedi an opportunity annually to play in a higher league in every sense of the term wherein they can prove a point. For all the opportunities that the IPL provides them, the two may be feeling that they have been short-changed in a way; that despite performing well enough in all the editions, they don’t come into the auction pool. They cannot be blamed if they feel they are denied because that is when they stand a good chance of making a pretty good package that can provide for some financial security once they hang their boots. Be that as it may, amidst all the superstars, it is a pleasure to see them turn out regularly and make their performances count for their sides.