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IPL 2024: Atharva Taide Patiently Waits for His Moment Under the Sun

IPL 2024: Till now, Punjab Kings batter Atharva Taide has clapped for his teammates. His time could arrive soon.

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Atharva Taide does not have many reasons to be cheerful.

His team, Punjab Kings, are already eliminated from the playoffs race of the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL). Currently, they are languishing at the bottom of the table, with only four wins in 12 matches. To compound his woes, opportunities for him have been limited this season, with limited being an understatement.

Having featured in seven matches last season, wherein he scored 186 runs at a strike rate of 144.19, including a half-century, Taide has played in only a solitary match this season. That too, with skipper Shikhar Dhawan being injured for the lion’s share of the season.

Yet, Taide remains optimistic. Why? Because Dhawan has had an honest conversation with him. The 24-year-old shares it with The Quint:

Shikhar Dhawan told me ‘Sab ko tera mehnat dikh raha hai(everyone is seeing your work). Everyone knows that you ha024ve scored plenty of runs in domestic cricket. Unfortunately, there is no place for you in the team right now, but there will be a stage where we might need you. So, keep yourself mentally prepared. Don’t put your shoulders down, because whatever challenges you are facing now will be helping you in your career.’ When a player of such a big stature puts his hand around your shoulder, you can’t help but be in a good frame of mind.
Atharva Taide
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That stage might arrive soon, as the Kings’ English trio of Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran have departed for national commitments, and the team is running thin on batting options. Taide confirms that he is mentally ready, courtesy of Dhawan’s motivational talk. 

He further speaks about the veteran batter:

Shikhar Dhawan is a ‘mastmaula’ person. But at the same time, he is a very sharp captain. He just knows how to get the best out of every player.
Atharva Taide
IPL 2024: Till now, Punjab Kings batter Atharva Taide has clapped for his teammates. His time could arrive soon.
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Getting Out on a Duck in IPL Debut

This is not the first occasion where Dhawan has been a guiding light in Atharva’s career. A year ago, he was dismissed on a duck in his IPL debut, and thought that his career was over before it even began. Dhawan, alongside coach Trevor Bayliss, came to the rescue.

I thought my career was over when I got out on a duck on my Punjab Kings debut in IPL 2023. I had waited so many years for that moment, but it was all gone in a second. But two sentences from two people helped me shake off the disappointment. Our coach Trevor Bayliss told me ‘You’re too good a player to miss out, don’t worry about the duck as we will keep backing you regardless.’ And our captain Shikhar Dhawan told me ‘Many great players got out on a duck on debut. You are not the first player, and you won’t be the last one either.’ I have not looked back ever since.
Atharva Taide
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The Importance of Domestic Cricket

Atharva came into the IPL on the back of an exemplary run with his domestic team, Vidarbha, across all formats. With 302 runs at an average of 43.14 and a strike rate of 169.66, he was the team’s leading run-scorer at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The honour was achieved at the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well, scoring 303 runs at an average of 43.28 and a strike rate of 97.42.

Speaking on his domestic experience, Atharva says:

Domestic cricket plays a huge role in developing players. The level of domestic competitions is now at a stage that can prepare a player for the international stage, not just the IPL. We have seen how players have come from the domestic competitions and scored big on their debut for India. We already face so many challenging situations in domestic cricket that IPL does not seem to be a big thing anymore. Vidarbha has helped me a lot, especially with the experience of leading the team. 
Atharva Taide
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Juggling Between Formats

Not only did Atharva play with distinction in white-ball competitions, but he was also instrumental in the team’s Ranji Trophy campaign, as Vidarbha emerged as runners-up. He scored 584 runs at an average of 41.71, with a couple of centuries and as many half-centuries. 

On juggling between formats, Atharva says he wants to be a master of all trades, not merely anyone in particular.

I not only want to play all three formats, but I want to excel in those. It is easy to do well in one particular format – the switch from one to another is difficult. But I know if my approach is correct and if I can maintain my physical fitness, it will not be hard to sustain in all three formats.
Atharva Taide
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Learning From Rahul Dravid

Six years ago, Atharva was a part of the U-19 India team which competed at the Emerging Asia Cup. The Akola-born batter still reminisces about the experience – especially the teachings of the erstwhile emerging team’s coach, Rahul Dravid.

Rahul sir has played a major role in my career. Not only did he refine my technique, but as my coach in the India U19 team, he also taught me what my thought process should be whenever things are not going my way. I keep going back to his suggestions even now, and I will keep doing that in the future as well.
Atharva Taide

Speaking on the aspects of the game he is currently working on, Atharva says:

I am currently working on my versatility. I know that just because I am an opener, it does not mean that I will bat for the first six overs and throw my wicket away. I am working on how the keep the scoreboard ticking in the middle-overs and then give the team a good finish at the end.
Atharva Taide
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Rapid Fire With Atharva Taide

Who is your inspiration?

My dad. He has made so many sacrifices – if I start naming them, I will run out of words. He gave up everything just so that I could pursue my dream. He also taught me how to always remain humble, irrespective of the stage I am in. I always look up to him.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Scoring 320 runs in the U-19 finals.

Who is your best friend in Punjab Kings?

Jitesh Sharma.

Who is late to every meeting?

Has to be Arshdeep Singh.

Who works out the most?

This one has to be Nathan Ellis.

If Punjab need a last-ball six, which batter would you pick?

Jitesh Sharma.

And if Punjab had to defend 10 runs in the last over, which bowler would you turn to?

I will pick two bowlers – either Kagiso Rabada or Arshdeep Singh.

One word to describe Shikhar Dhawan?

Mastmaula.

Who is the biggest foodie in the team?

Shivam Singh.

Who is the funniest teammate?

Arshdeep, again.

Who’s the team DJ?

That would be Harpreet Brar.

Who is likely to fall asleep anywhere?

I think that would be me.

Who is the singer in the team?

Harpreet Bhatia.

And the dancer?

That’s Harpreet Brar.

Who is the fastest runner in the team?

It will be a tough pick between Nathan Ellis and Kagiso Rabada, but I’ll still pick Ellis.

Who is likely to forget most things?

That will be a tough competition between me and Arshdeep.

Who is the laziest?

Shashank Singh.

One player you look up to from Punjab Kings?

Without any doubt, Shikhar Dhawan.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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