I have left school tension behind me: Rathod

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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Rajkot: "Now I have no problem with the authorities of the Central School and I am confident of performing to my full potential in the World Cup in England," said Nikhil Rathod, who is selected in the India's under-15 team to play in the World Cup in England, commencing on July 29 said.

Rathod, however, admitted that he was earlier under tremendous pressure as his school principal Pratima Ravat was hell-bent on not giving him permission to play in the World Cup.

She also did not want to give him permission to attend the training sessions at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore under the watchful eyes of Mr Hanumant Singh.

Following tremendous pressure from the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) and the local press she changed her mind, but not before forcing Rathod to sign a "promise letter" stating that he would not fail in the examination.

Meanwhile, Rathod was all praise for coach Roger Binny. "Roger sir was the same for each and every player and talked to each one personally." According to Binny his fielding was good, but he had to improve his physique and work hard with his bowling too.

When asked how the atmosphere was when India took on Pakistan in the final of the first Asian Championship in Malayasia, Rathod said, "The atmosphere was very good. We had beaten them in the league match and had the confidence. We had a lot of fighting spirit, which really helped us to win this title."

Nikhil said that he would like to become a genuine all-rounder but his first love was batting. Last year he performed well with the willow in the Cooch-Behar Trophy and Vijay Merchant Trophy.

"When I scored 80 runs off only 60 balls against Gujarat in the Cooch-Behar trophy last year, I achieved the break as well as the much needed confidence," Rathod, who also scored 80-odd runs against Baroda and 96 against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium, said.

Rathod gives credit for his early success to his coach Mahendra Rajdev, who is also a national junior selector of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"Mr Niranjan Shah and Yogesh Shah of the SCA and the senior Ranji players of the Saurashrta team also helped me a lot," Rathod added.

Talking about his ambition he said, "I would like to play Ranji Trophy as quickly as possible for Saurashtra and I am hopeful that I will get a chance soon."

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