India, Maharashtra, Rising Pune Supergiant, Indian Board Presidents XI, Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders
The Maharashtra-born right-handed batsman burst into the scene from nowhere after putting up a stupendous show for Rising Pune Supergiant in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Ranchi-born batsman had shown no signs of his inherent capabilities - having performed rather modestly in all formats of the game until then. Son of a man who came from a cricketing background - the senior Tripathi featured for the junior Uttar Pradesh team and had also served stints in university cricket, a transfer to Pune meant that Rahul got the opportunity of honing his skills at one of the oldest academy around - Deccan Gymkhana. Tripathi made his first-class debut for Maharashtra during the 2012-13 Ranji season, but his returns were nothing short of modest. 26 first-class games yielded three hundreds, while his 50-over and 20-over records were nothing to boast about either. IPL through the years Rahul Tripathi was one of the finds of the 2017 IPL as he stunned everyone, first with his selection in the Rising Pune Supergiant side and then with his skill set. A top-order batsman with a lot of flair and a penchant to clear the infield with ease, Tripathi unsettled pacers and spinners alike with his nimble footwork and hand-eye coordination. Given that his domestic numbers across formats weren’t great to begin with, his selection did raise eyebrows, especially in the playing XI but it turned out to be a masterstroke by the RPS management as he played a crucial role in the team’s campaign which saw them making their first IPL final. With the franchise suspended, Tripathi found himself in the Rajasthan Royals but barely got the opportunity to open the batting. With the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Jos Buttler at the top, it was virtually difficult for the young man to get a chance there and mostly had to contend with the finisher’s role which wasn’t his cup of tea really. Towards the fag end of the tournament, Rahane’s continuing lack of form saw Tripathi being pushed to the top of the order and he did respond with a fantastic fifty in the final league game of the tournament which was a virtual knockout game. In the 2019 season, it shall be interesting to see which position he gets to bat. Everyone knows where Tripathi is most effective but what the think tank feels is what will eventually matter.