Whether he would admit to it or not, Vaibhav Rawal would have had butterflies in his stomach when he took his guard while making his debut against UP in the CK Nayudu Trophy on Saturday. Delhi were tottering at 20 for 2 with the UP pacers were making the most of the heavy early morning air and making the ball talk at the Palam cricket ground. That awkward situation offered Rawal an opportunity to showcase his worth after watching from the sidelines for the first two games against Mumbai and Saurashtra. A mammoth innings of 298 later, Rawal will be satisfied with how everything turned out.
Of course Rawal received a stroke of luck during his innings when a sitter was dropped by the deep midwicket fielder but that was only after he had crossed the 200 run mark. “As soon as I played the shot, I could feel the ball had missed the meat of the bat and begun dipping like a golf drive straight into hands of the deep midwicket fielder. But luckily he dropped it. I needed that moment because it helped me regain my concentration and helped me to make a big score,” says Rawal.
And indeed the two matches Rawal missed made no difference because, he had scored in the course of an innings what most compatriots end up compiling over the course of their entire season. The 20-year old left hander is now hungry for many more similar innings. “It gives me immense happiness to know that my innings came at an important time but I am not satisfied. I want more runs in the next matches. If I would have gotten out cheaply then it wouldn’t have mattered much because people would not have much expectation of me but this innings has actually added the weight of responsibility on my shoulders,” says Rawal. Indeed Rawal, who rates aggressive Australian opener Matthew Hayden as his role model, says he too wants to be known as the Hayden of his own team.
The pressure Rawal speaks of is intensified considering the team has already contributed three players to the senior squad. Until now the team has been on a roll beating all its opponents and the first innings lead Rawal’s knock help provide has added a few more valuable points. Delhi next face Gujarat who are known to be a dangerous opponent.