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Why Rahul Tripathi has no other way but to make it count in Zimbabwe

Good things come to those who wait. But at times the wait can be a pain. It can be maddening. And yet, this waiting time does find its nemesis: a healing balm, which simply wipes it away. 

The same is true for one of the most enterprising batsmen around in the firmament of Indian cricket. 

Not KL Rahul. He’s already made it. Not Gill or Pant either; both are internationals already. 

Rahul Tripathi is his name and playing the waiting game has been his game for little fault of his own. 


Of course he’s not aspiring to be some standup comic as to have waited out there for his chance to come deliberately. It’s just that his time wasn’t coming; there’s little he could’ve done. 

That’s despite after scoring 391 IPL runs in the 2017 season (strike rate 147), and lest one forgot, 463 runs in the 2021 IPL season (strike rate of 141). 

But all of that’s changed. The batter, who batted, time and again for the Sunrisers Hyderbad, without holding himself back - for that’s how he plays - has made it. Well, finally. 

As India tour Zimbabwe for their next international assignment, the Bumrah, Rohit, Kohli-less contingent will have one interesting name in the mix: Rahul Tripathi. 

Days of being the backstage hero, someone still waiting for his chance to arrive, are gone. They’re done; the ebullient right-hander has indeed arrived having been picked to tour the Andy Flower-land. 

The question now, clearly one to watch, will be whether he can bloom and how soon can he do so?

What’s a touch surprising and dull, to say the least, is that India travel all the way to the promising African continent for no more than three games. Could there have been a T20 series as well? 

Well, if wishes were horses then India would never have been battered in the 2021 T20 World Cup despite being a powerhouse and the powerhouse that were the West Indies would, at least, have become a reasonably competitive ODI unit in all these decades of playing; not some punching bag that gets thrashed even by the likes of Ireland as one saw earlier in 2022. 

So what Rahul Tripathi - a product of the IPL, an efficient mid inning repairer, a dasher on the off side, a frequent hitter of sixes - needs to do is to know that all he has are these three ODI games. 

That’s pretty much it. Time’s not going to be a luxury he can afford. We’ll be mustn’t. And so are opportunities that come ever so difficultly. 

Who knows what a failure for Rahul Tripathi - 1,798 IPL runs and 10 fifties - may bring? 

It’s not even some rocket science theory to understand that to break into the Indian national cricket team, such a dream for a countless many, is akin to boarding the train from Virar and getting off at Borivali or Malad in Mumbai ; you just know that it’s a backbreaking tussle. 

Some, truth be told, consider it to being an effort that must warrant a Bharat Ratna for the sheer effort involved. 

But lighter vein be damned, the seriousness of the issue pertaining to the Indian cricket team is that it is one thing to get into the Indian side and something quite other to stay there. 

We’ve seen how talents like Manish Pandey found their way into the unit only to be out. 

We’ve also seen how Dinesh Karthik, modern cricket’s understated hero, got into the side, made an impact, got benched for months together and had to fight his way back again. 

May that never happen to someone bursting with talent as also boundless enthusiasm as Rahul Tripathi. 

He has everything going for him, if not age necessarily. 

At 31, there will only be limited chances for the nice guy that is Rahul Tripathi whose spot in the blue jersey will be hounded by talents several years younger than him. 

But for now, let’s hope for a memorable turnout in Zimbabwe, where Tripathi will face the likes of Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl and Chatara.