Rise and fall of Rawat

In a matter of a couple of months,wicket-keeper Mahesh Rawat’s career graph has nose-dived. Not only has he lost his place in the Railways XI to the up-and-coming V Cheluvuraj...

Written by Vinayak Padmadeo | New Delhi | Published: March 11, 2009 11:08 pm

Loss of form has seen Royals tumper missing out to Naman Ojha

In a matter of a couple of months,wicket-keeper Mahesh Rawat’s career graph has nose-dived. Not only has he lost his place in the Railways XI to the up-and-coming V Cheluvuraj,he is also fighting to hang on to his place with the Rajasthan Royals,with the Indian Premier League team signing up Naman Ojha.

Ojha has already replaced him in the Central Zone team for the Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy,despite the fact that Rawat had a much better batting average in the Ranji Trophy — he scored an impressive 43.28 per innings this season as against Ojha’s 29. He was also the second highest run-getter for the team in the Elite division with 303 runs against his name.

It doesn’t help matters that the Royals’ move to sign Ojha has coincided with the 23-year-old Rawat’s sudden batting slump with the latter scoring a mere 78 runs in four one-dayers of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Ask Abhay Sharma,who has watched both of them from close quarters,and the Railways coach and Central Zone selector says there isn’t much to choose between the two and it’s simply a case of luck not favouring Rawat.

“Naman Ojha has been scoring runs consistently. He was the top scorer for us against South Zone in the Duleep Trophy match this season. He also scored a century on a difficult wicket against North Zone in the Deodhar Trophy last year. Besides,he is a neat wicketkeeper too.

“However,I would say Mahesh is not far behind. The only thing that is going against him is the lack of form at the moment,” Sharma says.

Still upbeat
Mahesh himself isn’t much perturbed about the drastic change in fortunes and says he is ready to fight for his place in the Rajasthan Royals side. “I am not worrying too much about my form because these things happen with every cricketer. I am in good spirits and looking forward to the IPL now,” he says. On the growing competition with Ojha he adds: “Royals signed him as a replacement for Kamran Akmal. And whoever among us plays better in the camp will play… I’m ready to compete.”

Competition is all right but Rawat has to regain the lost ground quickly lest he lags too far behind.

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