When Rahul Tewatia was informed by his Haryana teammate Yuzvendra Chahal about his inclusion in the India T20I squad against England, he thought that the leg-spinner was joking. The 27-year-old is among a host of players, including Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, who earned their maiden national call-up last week.
"When Yuzi bhai (Yuzvendra Chahal) informed me, my first reaction was that he must be joking,” Rahul Tewatia told The Indian Express.
“I never thought I would get picked now. Mohit bhaiya (Sharma) also came to my room to inform me," the spinning all-rounder added.
Tewatia broke into the scene while playing for Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League when he had produced a blistering knock against Punjab last season.
Promoted to number four, Tewatia had endured a tough start where he made 17 runs off the first 23 balls. However, after a reliable Sanju Samson was dismissed, leaving Rajasthan to chase 51 runs in the last 18 balls, Tewatia had accomplished the job by clobbering five sixes in a Sheldon Cottrell over to eventually bring up his 50 in just 30 balls.
Rajasthan had won that match and Tewatia had won the hearts of millions. But, the player knows he will have little such opportunities coming his way given that Haryana has had three spinners playing for India.
"Life has always thrown challenges. Haryana has three spinners who have already played for India; Amit Mishra, Chahal and Jayant Yadav. I always knew that if I get an opportunity, I must make it count,” Tewatia said.
“People had noticed me after the IPL. I thought if I continue to do well, I could get picked for the Indian team," he added.
A day after his name was included in the Indian T20I squad, Tewatia scored a swashbuckling 39-ball 73 against Chandigarh, while playing for Haryana in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
India will face England in five T20I matches at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, starting on March 12.
India T20I team squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tewatia, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur.
Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Sajjad Hussain