NEW DELHI: Indian cricketer Rahul Tripathi hasn’t made his international debut yet, but he is one of the more talented batsmen around, who the selectors might be keeping an eye on for a potential T20I call-up in the future, like his state-mate from Maharashtra, Ruturaj Gaikwad, who made his T20I debut last year after good performances at the domestic and IPL levels.
Like most Indian cricketers of this generation, Tripathi too is a big MS Dhoni fan. He shared the dressing room with Dhoni in his maiden IPL season with the Rising Pune Supergiant team (now defunct) in 2017.
After RPS, the 31-year-old went on to play for the Rajasthan Royals (2018 and 2019) and then the Kolkata Knight Riders (2020 and 2021). Tripathi will now be plying his trade for the Sunrisers Hyderabad who bought the attacking batsman for a whopping Rs 8.50 crore in the last IPL player auction.
Last year (in 2021), Tripathi, while playing for KKR, found himself in a pressure-cooker situation and the Maharashtra cricketer held his nerve to seal the deal for his team. In Qualifier 2, in Sharjah, Kolkata Knight Riders were 123/2 in 16 overs, chasing Delhi Capitals 135/5.

Pic credit: KKR Twitter
KKR looked well on course for a comfortable win, but a flurry of wickets put KKR on the verge of losing the crucial game. With 10 required off 13 balls, KKR lost the wickets of Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine in quick succession. The equation came down to 6 needed off just 2 balls.
Tripathi didn’t waste much time and pumped a huge six off R Ashwin (who was on a hat-trick), to help KKR enter the final. It was a cool, calm and collected hit from Tripathi under pressure and came in for heavy praise.
“Hitting the six in that situation was something special for me. I didn’t rush and I was confident and dealt with those butterflies in the stomach and the adrenaline rush. Keeping calm in such situations is an art I learnt from Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni),” Tripathi told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview ahead of IPL 2022.
Tripathi has played 62 IPL games so far, scoring 1385 runs at an average of 26.13. He has 7 fifties under his belt.
In his maiden IPL appearance in 2017, while he was with RPS, Tripathi played 14 matches and scored 391 runs at an average of 27.93.

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Pic credit: KKR Twitter
He played the 2018 and 2019 seasons for Rajasthan Royals, scoring 226 runs in 12 matches in the 2018 season and 141 runs in 8 matches in the 2019 season for the Royals.
2020 and 2021 saw Tripathi play for two time champions, KKR. He scored 230 runs in his maiden appearance for KKR in 2020, averaging 23.00. In 2021, the 31-year-old had an impressive run as he managed 397 runs in 17 matches at an average of 28.35.
Over the seasons, Tripathi has essayed multiple roles for various teams – opener, anchor, finisher. The one thing that stands out about him the most perhaps is the constant smile he has on his face, even in the most high pressure situations.
“I want to be a good finisher for my team just like Mahi bhai. Playing under Mahi bhai was a dream come true for me. I was privileged that I was picked for RPS and got to play under Mahi bhai in my maiden IPL season. Sharing the dressing room, learning from his experience, taking tips from him, chatting with him and observing him was a big big thing for me. He guided me all the way. Even now, whichever team I am playing for, I just go and talk to him and he is very happy to help me. His presence in the team is enough and special for every player,” Tripathi, who has so far played 47 First Class matches for Maharashtra, further told TimesofIndia.com.
“I have good memories with all the teams (RPS, RR and KKR). Some special memories were with RPS when I played a 93-run knock vs KKR. That innings will always be on top of my list. That was a special knock. I have played some good knocks for RR as well. The last two years with KKR were amazing. I was very happy and had my best time there. I really enjoyed playing at KKR because of the people around. The time I had there was amazing. Of course, taking KKR to the final with that six, I will always cherish,” the 31 year old, who is also a right arm medium pacer further said.

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Pic credit: KKR Twitter
GEARING UP FOR NEW CHALLENGE AT SRH
There was an intense bidding war between SRH and CSK in the last player auction to buy Tripathi, before SRH secured his services for Rs 8.50 Crore.
Tripathi once again would have been seen playing under Dhoni, if CSK had won that bidding war.
Tripathi will be playing under a new skipper in Kane Williamson this time. Apart from captain Williamson and Tripathi, SRH also have the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Glenn Phillips, Marco Jansen, Aiden Markram, Priyam Garg, Washington Sundar, Shreyas Gopal and Kartik Tyagi as part of their player roster.
“It’s a new beginning. I am very excited to don the orange jersey. IPL has been a great platform for me and for every cricketer. I got the chance to rub shoulders with star players around the world. I have got many opportunities and exposure to showcase my talent and this platform has helped me to take my game to another level,” Tripathi said.
Known to be a technically sound batsman, cricket runs in Rahul Tripathys genes. His father, an Army man, played junior level cricket for Uttar Pradesh and also played University level cricket. Rahul didn’t have the best of introductions to First Class cricket in 2012 and was not part of the Ranji Team on a regular basis. His IPL selection for RPS for Rs 10 lakh in 2017 turned things around in dramatic style for Rahul, who has a BSc in mathematics and would have been an engineer, if his passion for cricket had not steered him in another direction altogether.

Now, his focus is on helping SRH win their second IPL title, while keeping his fingers crossed for an India call-up.
“There are players who have made it to the Indian side because of the IPL and I am also looking forward to the same. I am really happy to join the Sunrisers Hyderabad. I will try to give my best. I will continue to give my hundred percent. I am hoping to impress the (national) selectors in the upcoming season,” Tripathi told TimesofIndia.com.
As he has done many times in the past in the IPL, Tripathi is open to batting in any position the team needs him to play in.
“The SRH squad is looking strong. Kane (Williamson) is a great player and one of the best captains in the world. He is somebody who always stays calm and does his job very well. We have a great squad and I am sure Kane will take SRH to a title win. I am ready to bat in any position. If Kane asks me to open, I will and if he asks me to bat in the middle order, I am ready for that too,” Tripathi signed off.

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