KL Rahul had a splendid 2019-20 season and was ranked second best T20I batsmen in the ICC rankings until August 2020.
Smriti Mandhana won the ICC award for best female cricketer of the year 2018 and best ODI Player of the Year 2018. She also topped the ICC ranking for WODIs in early 2019.
Riyan Parag was picked up by Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 season and became the youngest player to score a half century in the toughest T20 league in the world.
Here are a few tips from them for young cricketers looking to follow in their footsteps.
Dream big if you want to achieve great things
“My first tip would be dream big. This has been a motto for me since I started playing cricket. And I strongly believe that if you want to achieve greatness or if you want to play at the highest level, first and foremost, what you have to do is dream big,” says Riyan Parag.
Keep cricket simple
“The best advice that I ever received was this: ‘Cricket is a very simple game. The simpler you keep it, the more rewards the game will give you.’ And I have reminded myself this very often,” says KL Rahul.
He remembers that it was AB de Villiers who had given him this advice in 2016. Rahul had scored three-four half centuries but wasn’t consistently finishing off games. While he was constantly thinking about it, AB said to him that it would be best to not stress or chase numbers because if you keep things simple, good things will come to you. And KL Rahul has proven that when he shut out the noise to have an incredible 2019-20 season and then marked it by winning the orange cap in 2020.
KL Rahul - Shut Out The Noise
Enjoy the training sessions
Smriti Mandhana has always believed that any effort – or lack of effort – in training sessions will always show in her performance in a match.
“I think it is important to enjoy the process. This could be all the sessions – gym sessions, running sessions, batting sessions. If I enjoy those sessions, it shows in the form of good results in a match. Whenever I do a session which I don’t feel like doing, it is always counted as a session not done. So enjoying yourself whenever you are doing those sessions and giving your 100% is the key,” says Smriti Mandhana.
Put in the effort to be successful
“I think hard work is very important. Because I believe there is no substitute for hard work. Yes, your talent and your skill will take you to a certain level but if you want to reach a higher level than that and perform consistently, I think you have to be the hardest worker in the room every single day,” says Riyan, who was part of the India squad that won the 2018 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
If you are a batter, just react to the bowling
Smriti advises against planning your shots before the ball has left the bowler’s hand.
“I think as a batter it is important to not complicate stuff too much. Just go out there, keep it simple, watch the ball, and play accordingly. I feel batting is meant to be reactive; you have to just react to what the bowler throws at you. If you complicate it too much by having plans for a shot before you face the ball, it just gets difficult. So my tip is to just react to what the bowler bowls to you,” says Smriti.
Smriti Mandhana plays Never Have I Ever
Have faith in your abilities and skill
“I think it is important to believe in yourself because cricket is such a game that you will fail more than you succeed. So when you do have those failures, when other people are doubting you, when you are losing the plot somewhere – all you have to do is believe in yourself and believe in your skill. Believe in all the hard work that you have put into the game, and believe that you can make it to the highest level and perform consistently there,” says Riyan.
Don’t get carried away by conditions and situations
“As a cricketer it is important to be neutral. If you get out on zero or if you score a 100, it is important that your mind remains calm. You should not get excited after a 100 and not get disappointed after a zero. It is very important to get over something and just be neutral in whatever phase you are in at the time. If you keep thinking about a 100 for more than a few days, in the next match you are bound to get out early. And if you keep thinking about a zero in your last match, you will go out and play in that manner. So it is important to just forget and move on,” says Smriti.