Ankit Rajpoot: 'I want to represent the country'
Ankit Rajpoot has astonished his fans with his remarkable performance in his first two games for the Kings XI Punjab.
He impressed one and all as he picked up a five-wicket haul against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. With two consecutive Man of the Match performances, the tall lanky pacer is in the spotlight.
Rajpoot made his debut for Uttar Pradesh in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season. He featured in the Indian Premier League(IPL) for the Chennai Super Kings in the sixth edition.
The youngster scalped only one wicket on his IPL debut but he managed to grab the spotlight with his pace.
The pacer was procured by the Kings XI Punjab in this year's auction. His impressive performance in domestic cricket helped him to earn the IPL contract.
The 24-year-old received a lucrative deal of INR 3 crore from the franchise. The young lad will be looking to help his franchise to attain their first IPL title.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Ankit Rajpoot expresses his views on aggression and will to play for the nation.
Excerpts: (Translated from Hindi to English)
SK: How has your journey been as a cricketer?
Rajpoot: I started playing tennis ball cricket in 2007 at the age of 13. I used to go to bowl against my senior Mr. Manvendra Singh.
One day he asked me to play club cricket for his team and since then I have been mentored by our local coach Shashikant Khandkar. He made me look towards cricket as a professional cricketer.
SK: You made your IPL debut for the Chennai Super Kings and dismissed the veteran Ricky Ponting in your first game. How would you describe the moment?
Rajpoot: I remember. It was my first game and playing against the international stars reminded me of my responsibility.
It was a different feeling playing against these guys who I had watched on television. It was just aggression when I dismissed Ricky Ponting.
The emotions were bursting out and I couldn't hold them back. It was completely natural, it would have happened even if I had dismissed someone else.
SK: What is the one thing besides aggression that the game demands from a fast bowler?
Rajpoot: For a fast bowler, it’s important to constitute some amount of zeal in the form of aggression, but it’s more important to channelise that fire in a proper direction.
At some point, a bowler needs to stop and think what’s going on in the batsman’s mind and for that, we need to keep ourselves composed.
So, overall a bowler needs to figure out which situation demands what.
SK: In a country like India, where every other person is enticed by batsmanship and where the factors like weather, guidance don’t help a lot in grooming a fast bowler. What made you bet on the odds?
Rajpoot: As I told you earlier, I started my cricketing career as a bowler. The motivation and inspiration came from the fast bowling greats.
I remember I used to watch all the games with my dad and it was irritating to watch the Pakistani bowlers attack Sachin Tendulkar with bouncers.
This provoked me to take up fast bowling. I just wanted to represent the country.
SK: You have grown up playing in Uttar Pradesh, how do you cope up with the hot weather? What precautions do you take to keep yourself injury free?
Rajpoot: The climate in Uttar Pradesh is more of dry heat. So, we have to keep our fitness level up to the standards. The diet plays an important role too, there is a lot of emphasis on the food we eat.
SK: How does it feel after playing such a prominent role for Kings XI so far?
Rajpoot: Obviously, it always feels good to get your rhythm back, I’m feeling more confident than before but it would have been much better if we had crossed the winning line in that second game (KXIP vs SRH).