Anuj Rawat's story is a lot like Rishabh Pant's. He is also an attacking wicketkeeper-batter who hails from Uttarakhand, who moved to Delhi as a pre-teen to better his chances of a future in professional cricket. He is originally from Ramnagar, a town in Nainital district, famous for the Jim Corbett National Park. Like Pant, he is a naturally attacking batter who loves hitting sixes and takes on the bowlers right from the outset.
Rawat made his Ranji Trophy debut for Delhi just before he turned 18, in October 2017, and he has been a consistent performer in the domestic circuit since then, especially against the white ball.
Rawat was born and brought up in Ramnagar and he moved to Delhi soon after he turned 10. His father is a farmer back home, and his mother is a housewife. When he told his parents that he wanted to take cricket seriously, Rawat's father decided it was better to send his son to Delhi because of a lack of cricket facilities and academies in Ramnagar.
This is Rawat's third IPL season overall, but only the second in which he is getting a chance to play. He was first bought by Rajasthan Royals for INR 80 lakh (USD 112,000 approx. at the time) in the 2020 auction, but he got his IPL debut last year. He got to bat only once and bagged a first-ball duck against Kolkata Knight Riders in Royals' last league game.
In age-group cricket, Rawat was an opener, but when he played in the Ranji Trophy he had to move down to the middle order because of the team combination. On his IPL debut too, he played at No. 5, but Royal Challengers have decided to play him at his natural position at the top.
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo