The list of young Indian players who blazed away in the IPL with their exciting performances is quite long. From a purely batting perspective, the sight of a diminutive Swapnil Asnodkar smashing Indian and International bowlers at the top of the order for Rajasthan Royals might be fresh in the memories of many a fan and pundit. Paul Valthaty’s exploits for Kings XI Punjab served them well in a few matches.
In hindsight, it won’t be cruel to say that most of the Indian hard hitters that IPL served up fizzled away after some decent performances for the respective IPL franchises. It automatically cut short their ambitions of representing India after promising starts. But, there’s no reason to be quite so apathetic about Rahul Tewatia, the latest match-winner for Rajasthan Royals.
The emergence of Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant has still not addressed the issue of raising a blitzkrieg at the end of a T20 innings or chase down crazy totals whilst facing ultra-modern T20 bowlers for the Indian T20 side. Indian victories have been usually built around Rohit’s dominance and Virat’s class over the last few years. In a post-Dhoni era, India badly needs a hard-hitting all-rounder preferably batting at number six who can clear boundaries and be unconventional to catch the bowlers off their guard.
So, can Rahul Tewatia be that man?
Let’s wait and watch.
Rahul Tewatia’s rise in the IPL 2020 augurs well for Rajasthan Royals who still have enough fire in their bellies to qualify for the playoffs and possibly beyond. Their top order has not been consistent enough in the ongoing IPL, but their batting personnel is capable of striking form at any moment.
So, things are moving in the right direction for Rajasthan Royals. Tewatia and his art of finishing matches held them in good stead in two close matches against Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The most heartening aspect of Rahul Tewatia’s skills as a match-winner is his ability to clear boundaries at crucial stages of a match. His style of play won’t remind anyone of the graceful Saurav Ganguly, but, his calmness emanates from plying his trade in Domestic Cricket for about seven years.
While he was smashing sixes against Sheldon Cottrell, the team management of Kings XI Punjab would have been feeling repentant for letting him go. A situation where you didn’t wonder who to offer a salute to, if at all. And probably asking Sheldon’s opinion on that may not have helped a great deal either.
Nonetheless, Rahul Tewatia’s breakthrough moment had come in IPL 2018 where he justified his massive price tag of 2.5 Crores by delivering a match-winning performance with both bat and ball for the Kings against KKR. Another promising season that was doing its bit to cultivate the presence he has today in a format where one often struggles to get past big names- Gayle, AB, Virat, Bravo, Watson, Dhoni to quote a few.
Rahul Tewatia has so far been one of the finds of IPL 2020 alongside T.Natarajan of Sunrisers Hyderabad and Devdutt Padikal of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Rajasthan Royals would be hoping for more match-winning performances from Tewatia which will elevate their chances in the IPL 2020.
And who knows, we might see Tewatia playing the switch hit against top-class bowlers for India very soon the way he played it against Rashid Khan, arguably the best T20 bowler currently.