The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 21 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bhatt’s KKR secret

Calcutta: The start to Rujul Bhatt’s first-class career was not that impressive.

A string of low scores never quite made him a regular in the Gujarat side. At present, though, a playing XI without Bhatt is something Gujarat would dread, especially after his heroics against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy tie, at the Eden, on Tuesday.

The visitors looked dead and buried before Bhatt produced a magnificent 102 not out — his third first-class century — apart from stitching a vital 149-run stand for the eighth wicket with all-rounder Rakesh Dhruv, which earned them a point out of nowhere.

For sure, he was aided by some ineffective bowling by Bengal pacers during crucial junctures of the final day. However, that wouldn’t take the sheen off his knock, considering the circumstances under which he got the runs.

Patience, resolve and determination were the hallmark of his innings. Little wonder why he terms this innings as his best as of now.

“My highest score is 186. But the one I got here is a precious one because we were down and out at 18 for five.

“Last night, we had been discussing about surviving the entire day.

“Our initial plan was to play session-by-session, which later boiled down to ball-by-ball. I’m really happy to have contributed to the team’s cause. Kudos to Rakesh too for his effort,” Bhatt gushed.

“The wicket slowed down as the match progressed and batting wasn’t becoming any easier. In fact, we had to be extra careful on some occasions or else, anything could have happened,” Bhatt pointed out.

The Brian Lara fan said the exposure trip in 2008 with the Kolkata Knight Riders to Down Under played a part in developing his skills.

“The tour was a great experience and it did come to my help. The tips from Ajit Agarkar and other senior pros enabled me to work on my skills and abilities,” Bhatt said.