The Indian Premier League is a perfect launch pad for young cricketers to learn how to handle the limelight. Rising Pune Supergiant opener Rahul Tripathi is currently enjoying it with his solid showing in IPL 2017 so far.
Tripathi is sought out for selfies and autographs, and he humbly obliges all requests at the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre here on a Sunday morning. It’s a centre which houses Indian armed forces personnel who have suffered spinal injuries in the line of duty. Soldiers, some as young as 23, confined to the wheelchair, are at the PRC where they learn to lead an independent life.
Although visiting PRC was a new experience for Rising Pune Supergiant players like Jaydev Unadkat, Ashok Dinda, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar, it was second home for Tripathi.
The Centre is close to the residence of the Maharashtra batsman. Tripathi has regularly accompanied his father, Col AK Tripathi, and mother Saroj to the centre for the last five years. It was a proud moment for Col Tripathi to see his son being invited to the centre as a guest with his RPS teammates.
Col Tripathi spoke about how donating for a good cause has also brought happy times to his family.
“My wife would often fast on Thursdays and end it by offering fruits. We would donate those fruits at PRC. Rahul followed what we did and he too would contribute in the kitty and make larger donations of fruits. Since we have been doing that, Rahul has been rewarded with good success in his cricket. With God’s grace we will continue doing more donations,” he said.
Rahul started donating fruits in 2011, his mother Saroj said. The next year, he made his Ranji Trophy debut for Maharashtra against Baroda. Since the 2014-15 season, Rahul has been an integral part of the Maharashtra team.
Rahul’s big-hitting prowess has come to the fore through the IPL, where Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steven Smith has promoted him as opener. And the 26-year-old has notched a string of 30-plus scores in his last six innings.
Such has been the youngster’s impact that Pune fans chant his name despite the presence of India batsman Ajinkya Rahane at the other end. “I take away a lot of positive energy every time I come here (at PRC). Sacrifices by them (soldiers) is inspiring,” said Tripathi.