When his name was called by the auctioneer, Anuj was confident that he would be bought by some team or the other, but what he wasn’t expecting was to become a millionaire.
Anuj, who played for the Rajasthan Royals last season (in 2021), was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for a whopping Rs. 3.40 crore. His base price was Rs 20 lakh.
“I was expecting a good IPL deal because of my good performances in domestic cricket. I was expecting a deal for a decent amount, but I wasn’t expecting this high a bid for me. (laughs). I am really happy and I am looking forward to playing for RCB and giving my 100 percent,” Anuj, who scored 167 runs in 5 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 matches last season, at an average of 33.40, told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.
Mike Hesson and Co. had their eyes on Anuj Rawat even during the mock auctions, and they managed to get the talente… https://t.co/Ew0rp00vQy
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) 1645414200000
“The experience at RR was amazing. The exposure I got at RR helped me in my domestic season. The experience helped me a lot in raising my game. I am becoming more and more confident now. I learnt a lot at the RR camp. The coaches, the management, Jos (Buttler), and Sanju bhai helped me a lot. I could reach Jos and Sanju bhai any time. They both have amazing skills and are brilliant human beings,” Rawat further said.
ANUJ’S JOURNEY – FROM RAMNAGAR TO AN IPL CONTRACT
Hailing originally from Ramnagar in Nainital, Uttarakhand, Anuj came to Delhi in 2011. The dream was to become a cricketer. With not many cricketing facilities available in Uttarakhand at that time, Anuj’s father Virendra Pal Singh Rawat, who always wanted his son to become a wicket-keeper batsman, sent him to Delhi.
Anuj cleared the trials and made it to the Delhi junior team. He was eventually handed his Delhi senior team cap in 2017. Anuj, who was part of the victorious Indian Under-19 Asian Cup team of 2018, that defeated Bangladesh in the final, made his first-class debut in 2017 under Ishant Sharma’s leadership for the Delhi team. He featured in a playing XI, which had players like Gautam Gambhir, Ishant, Navdeep Saini, Nitish Rana, and Unmukt Chand.
Congratulations @faf1307 🤘Looking forward to play under you at @RCBTweets 💪#playbold #ipl2022
— Anuj Rawat (@AnujRawat_1755) 1647101748000
His impressive run in the domestic circuit led to an IPL deal with Rajasthan Royals for Rs. 80 lakh in the 2020 edition. He spent two seasons with the Royals, but was selected for just two games.
Anuj has played 22 first-class matches so far and scored 954 runs at an average of 30.77, including 2 centuries and 3 fifties. In the 27 T20 matches of his career so far, the 22 year old has amassed 501 runs at an average of 29.47.
But now, with RCB being his new IPL home, Anuj is looking forward to another long-cherished dream coming true- to play alongside Virat Kohli.
(Photo: Anuj Rawat Twitter account)
“Every young cricketer has one dream: to play in the same team as Virat Kohli. I also have always had that dream. I am really thankful that that dream is going to come true this year. I met him (Virat) a couple of times when I was at RR. I walked up to him and he was happy to talk to me. I spoke with him and took some batting tips. I shared my experience with him. He is a legend of the game. Not just cricket, I asked him about life overall. How he transformed himself from his Delhi-playing days to India colours. I am so happy that I will be getting a lot of time to speak to him now. I want to ask him about longevity in the game and maintaining a high fitness level. I want to share the pitch with Virat Kohli,” Anuj further told TimesofIndia.com.
Also have a lot of time for Anuj Rawat. Think he can go on and play for India, but needs to put his head down and c… https://t.co/oVcqylVDsk
— Jatin Paranjape (@jats72) 1645340158000
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT PLAYING MANY MATCHES FOR RCB
Anuj might be a part of RCB now, but how many matches will he realistically get to play? He has to prove himself with every opportunity he gets.
RCB have as many as four wicket-keepers in their squad. Apart from Anuj, Dinesh Karthik, Finn Allen, and Luvnith Sisodia are the other three keepers RCB have in their squad. Anuj, who played just two games with RR last season, is optimistic about his chances of playing a decent number of matches with RCB, who will be led by new captain, Faf du Plessis.
Going through the team sheet, Dinesh Karthik should be the first choice wicket-keeper batsman for the team.
𝐊𝐍𝐎𝐖 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐄𝐍𝐆𝐄𝐑 😎A hard hitting batter who can give the team the push it needs and equally quick with gloves… https://t.co/19sX3bxZMO
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) 1646202600000
“I want to take wicket keeping tips from DK (Dinesh Karthik). He has been in Indian cricket for so long and has got a lot of experience. I want to take my keeping skills to another level with his guidance.
RCB have stars – Faf, Maxi, DK. I look forward to learning from each one of them,” Anuj said.
“I am just waiting for an opportunity. Sharing the crease with the likes of Virat bhaiya, Maxwell, Faf, DK will be a huge thing for me. I can’t wait to don an RCB jersey and share the dressing room with these legends. I am a wicket-keeper batsman and I played as both an opener and a middle-order batsman in the domestic circuit. So, whatever the batting position the management and the captain will decide for me, I will be ready for that role. Any position or situation, send me in, I will perform,” Anuj signed off.