October 22, 1979, Delhi
Right hand bat
Right arm medium fast
Had the roll of selectoral dice gone his way, Rajat Bhatia could have been the allrounder India were looking for when Robin Singh called it a day in 2001. A medium-pace bowler who has for long stuck to one line, and a batsman good enough to tough it out at the crease, Bhatia has turned in many influential performances in domestic cricket. He completed 100 first-class matches in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season, 16 years after making his debut. Despite his longevity in domestic cricket, Bhatia has so far been unable to represent his country.
His value hit unprecedented heights in the Indian Premier League, though. He has played every single season of the league since its inception in 2008 and in the 2014 auction, he was bought by Rajasthan Royals for INR 1.7 crore ($283,000 approx). In 2016, he was bought by the debutants Rising Pune Supergiants for INR 60 lakh ($89,000 approx).
"Chchotu" has played for three teams in domestic cricket - two seasons for Tamil Nadu at the turn of the millennium before returning to his home state, Delhi, with whom he won the Ranji Trophy Super League trophy in 2007-08. His 525 runs and 26 wickets in nine matches - including a 139 in the final against Uttar Pradesh - helped Delhi lift the Ranji Trophy for the first time in 16 years. He was picked for an emerging players' tour of Israel in 2008, but an India call-up remained elusive.
"I lost that kind of motivation but decided not to hold any regrets because I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the game and extend my career till the age of 37-38," he told Wisden India in February 2015. In September of that year, he lost his place in Delhi in the wake of great administrative troubles within the cricket association. But Bhatia found a place with Rajasthan and played his 100th first-class match for them.
Anand Vasu and ESPNcricinfo staff
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