Indian youngster Anuj Rawat is arguably not a well-known game in the world of cricket as of today; however, he has played with some of the giants of the game. Anuj Rawat will further look to elevate his case when he features for Rajasthan Royals alongside the likes of Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Robin Uthappa. In an exclusive interview with Times of India, the keeper-batsman recalled a piece of advice from Gautam Gambhir.
So far, Anuj Rawat has featured in 19 first-class games and scored 925 runs, averaging 34.25. He has also featured in 23 short-format games across List A and T20 cricket, averaging a decent 35 and 26 respectively. With the gloves, the 20-year old has affected 82 dismissals. As per his statistics, he could be relied upon to become one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen for India.
While playing a first-class game for Delhi, Gautam Gambhir fielded at slips and guided Anuj on how to refine his keeping skills. Gambhir told the youngster that a gloveman should know their bowlers well and constant practising with them makes it better. As for Ishant Sharma, the pacer taught him the distance needed to maintain from the stumps and leg movement. Gambhir always used to mention to watch the ball and assess its movement carefully.
“Gautam bhaiya used to field at the slips and guided me after every ball. He used to tell me how much distance I should keep away from the stumps so that the ball would carry to me easily. He taught me one thing – ‘always know your bowlers well’.
“The more you practice with your bowlers well, the better a keeper you will become. When Ishant bhaiya used to bowl, he used to guide the distance I should keep from the stumps and leg movement. He has taught me how to be confident behind the wickets. While fielding at the slips he always said ‘stay calm’, be confident, watch the ball and its movement carefully,” the 20-year-old stated.
They both treat me like a younger brother: Anuj Rawat
The Uttrakhand-born went on to recall his nervousness when making his first-class debut for Delhi. Ishant Sharma was the one who reminded him that he will play and Anuj named it as his honour to share the dressing room with giants. The keeper-batsman said he felt gifted to have seniors and legends, who treat him like their younger brother.
“I am a wicketkeeper-batsman. I was extremely nervous when I made my debut for Delhi. Ishant bhaiya came and said “aaj tu khelega, ready rahio” (You will play today, be ready). Gautam bhaiya was also there.
“It was an honour to share the dressing room with Ishant bhaiya and Gautam bhaiya. They both treated me like a younger brother. They knew I was nervous but both of them motivated me. It really feels good when you get such supportive seniors who are also legends of the game,” Anuj Rawat added.