Off The Field

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Take 10 : What Must I Do?

So, what do you think, is the most difficult thing in your batting?

Consistency. That's the most difficult part of my batting and I look to improve it. As you wanna score daily for your team and score big on a consistent basis. That doesn't happen every match, which is understandable, but you want the runs to always come from your bat. This is what I find difficult and keep on working hard on.

How do you keep yourself fit for every match?

Just hitting the gym regularly, following a strict diet, and never compromising with it... That's all. And the fact that I play for my country keeps me mentally fit.

How do deal with criticism? Has it ever affected you?

Ammm, it wasn't initially easy for me to battle​ criticism, like whenever someone said, 'Rehaan, you are not doing well', I used to take it too seriously and get really skeptical about everything, this put a lot of pressure on me and it reflected on my game. So much so that, I was kept away from the Mumbai domestic team for 1 year, because I was out of form. I wasted 1 whole year sitting at home, just because someone criticised me and I took that on the field.

My father​ then said me, 'Be passionate about your game, good if you're trying hard to improve, but just over thinking about someone not liking your game is nonsense. If someone says, you haven't done well take it, but don't let it control you. Criticism is good only if you take it as a goal to achieve, if you set it as a benchmark for improvement'

Later, I came across this famous cricket saying, 'When on the field, stay in your present' All these things changed me and criticism never came to haunt my game. It was always like a benchmark I set for myself to perform well. My father has always been a great support system behind me. He is my father, motivator and at times Coach as well...

If not cricket, what would you do for bread and butter?

(Smiling) Honestly, I never thought about it with an open mind. Academically, I was a bright student in my school days. I participated in a cricket tournament for my school in standard 4th, just out of interest for sports. In standard 10th, I scored decent marks, but, till then, I had started playing age-group cricket for Mumbai, interest for sports had become passion now.

Seeing my passion, my family gave me complete support and my parents told me, 'If you are passionate for the sport and are serious about playing for India, for the next few years, put all your efforts in the game and work so hard, that you need not make a backup​ plan' And so, I started playing tournaments day in and day out. I remember, in my college days, I studied only a night before exams. That's how I graduated, and so there was never a second profession... In fact, I barely managed to graduate (laughs)

How much has social media and fans' support influenced your life?

Social media is a good tool to connect to your fans and community as a whole. Many a times, I have also been helped to improve my game, by watching analysis stuff on YouTube. But, honestly, I don't get carried way too much by social media and fans' support. I never let it influence my life. Yes, it has been a great thing, but then, it cannot dictate the terms of your life. So, I take care not to be a victim of it's cons. Because, overdose of anything always results in side-effects...

Last, but not the least - How would the Indian Cricket Team Captain motivate the young aspiring sportspersons?

Follow your heart. Whatever sport you are pursuing, be it cricket or anything else, follow it with your heart and soul, be loyal to it. There are a lot obstacles waiting for you, to make or break you, to test your nerves. Whether you come out successful, is up to you.

Another thing I wanna say is, that, I've seen people talking that they got inspired by an XYZ person... Getting inspired doesn't mean copying that person completely, up, down, left, right and centre; it means that you get motivated by that person's hard work and dedication. And, to be as successful, you have to put yours to achieve something original, to make out something original out of yourself. Follow people to achieve your dreams, get inspired by them, but don't try to copy them. Copying won't make you successful. And, all this goes the same with sports as well as any other profession.

"Thank You so much for your time Sir. It was a fun time interviewing you. You were highly motivating. This interview will be published in the next month's issue of our magazine. You'll be provided the first copy of it," said the tall heighted, formally dressed, young interviewer, as she proceeded to leave. She closed her notepad, putting a pencil in between as a book mark. She removed her spectacles and put them in the case.

"Pleasure!" said Rehaan getting up to shake hands with her.

"Can we take a picture?" she asked with enthusiasm. Rehaan nodded and they took a couple of photographs. He was looking decent in his black jacket and black pants. It was the outfit he preferred wearing when venturing out for interviews. It had been 2 hours since Rehaan was here, straight after his gym session.

Rehaan was joined by the team's opening batsman, Priyansh while he was leaving the lounge.

"So, what brings you here? The lady looked good huh! Cheating on Riya? Are you? Two innings together?" he asked teasingly.

"Naah! Shut up damn it! Don't judge my loyalty!! I had an interview planned with a local magazine. That's what brings me here. What about you?" Rehaan replied with an annoyed expression on his face.

"Just chillin', checked in the lounge menu, like, what drinks they provide, and yeah. Sitting in rooms is too mainstream, man," replied the batsman, habitual to overdoing different accents.

"What's next?" Rehaan continued the conversation as they walked along the vacant staircase, which was made of highly luxurious marbles. Their luxurious shoes banged the tiles of the expensive flooring.

"Mahn! Just arrange an interview of hers with me, I assure you she'll fall for me for sure", Priyansh joked.

"Shut up Pri. Nobody wants you", Rehaan replied.

"I am dying single and it's got only you to blame for. Anyway, let's prank the new guy", said Priyansh, with a mischievous expression.

"You can never leave out a single tournament without playing pranks...", Rehaan replied, whilst nodding his face in disgust.

"Every team has to have a guy like me. I am named Priyansh for a reason! Let's plan something man. My stomach pains without pranks!" replied Priyansh with excitment.

Priyansh rung the bell of room number 420, which was opened by Sudhanshu. Priyansh wore an angry expression as he started, "What do you young dudes think of yourselves, huh? Selected to an international team means you are some kind of thugs, can do whatever you want?"

"I didn't get you, did I upset you, I am...I am sorry...." Sudhanshu said slightly worried.

"Upset me? Hahaha! had you done that, you would've at least been spared. Pack your bags and run away wherever you can! And yeah, forget Indian team, I don't even think you'll be allowed to even play domestic cricket for what you've done. I don't understand where do these young guys learn all this from!...." Priyansh continued, as he could see Sudhanshu's body draining.

"But, what have I done?" Sundhanshu asked with a blank expression.

"How dare you verbally assault a waiter? What do you think you're? A Gangsta? These young kids! Give them a couple of internationals, they go on top of the world!... There are people from the management coming to look into the matter. Before they catch and knock you off, just get lost. Rehaan and Mr.Peets are really pissed off, don't show them your bloody face!"

"Priyansh! You idiot! Don't you dare help that moron escape I'll kill him!", Rehaan came shouting towards the room.

Meanwhile, Sudhanshu was almost crestfallen, he wasn't able to understand what had hit him.

"What kind of a moron are you?" shouted Rehaan,"I won't spare you, you piece of crap! You'll be all over the news in a while. Argg! Leave that, I am more concerned about the team, do you know, how much will it effect the team? Damn!"

Sudhanshu was lost for words, he was breathing heavily, thinking, his end was near, for an incident he didn't even have a clue of. Priyansh and Rehaan started laughing and Sudhanshu was again, left clueless.

"Young man! Young Man!" laughed Priyansh, "Calm down, we were just joking. Rehaan, mate you need to shape up your acting skills. Your over-acting reminds me of a young actor and I hate it!"

"Really? Were you'll playing a prank?" asked Sudhanshu with a child-like curiosity, fear ran all through his body.

"This guy loves to prank new guys", said Priyansh, pointing towards Rehaan in a mischievous way.

"Says who!" Rehaan exclaimed.

"For a second I just thought my career's gone! It's over!..." said Sudhanshu letting out a laugh,"I had heard about you'll being the pranksters of the team, now I have seen it first hand! In fact, experienced it!"

"So, what are you busy with in the room?", asked Priyansh.

"You'll are most welcome to joint me on the Xbox..." Sudhanshu offered.

Rehaan looked at his watch and replied hurriedly, "Guys, you'll continue I've some important work to deal with. See you'll in the team bus."

"This man is always busy! Now which beautiful lady is calling him for a... DATE?" exclaimed Priyansh, stressing on the last word. Ignoring his teases, Rehaan moved towards the fire exit area.

"Let's defeat you, young man, Counter Strike or Football?" Priyansh said, mockingly.

"Let's see who defeats whom, Football!" exclaimed Sudhanshu with excitment.

"The room number suits me more than you, I should have owned this one", Priyansh said, pretty casually and Sudhanshu nodded, while smiling at the irony, as they both entered his room...

Rehaan entered the fire exit area. It was a silent pavement, anyone could simply hear a pin dropping. Rehaan found it as the safest place. He looked left and then right, ensuring no one was there. He let a sigh of relief. He dialled a number on a phone which looked sightly old fashioned. He looked a little nervous.

"What must I do...."

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