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IPL star Bhatia gunning for Himley T20 glory
2:00pm Friday 17th August 2012 in Sport
RAJAT Bhatia could be forgiven for a double-take on Monday evening.
When the Indian all-rounder takes the field for Himley’s first game of the Black Country Floodlit tournament against Wolverhampton, it will be his first game of Twenty20 since the Indian Premier League final in May.
The 32-year-old was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders side which clinched the crown in front of 50,000 screaming fans at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Himley’s Stourbridge Road ground is, to put it mildly, a different setting altogether.
And although Knight Riders owner and Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan is unlikely to put in an appearance, the will to win is just as strong for Bhatia.
He said: “It’s going to be a bit different, there’s no denying that.
“But the rules will still be the same, there is still going to be the same desire to win.
“It’s true I won’t have to worry about bowling to Chris Gayle or anything like that.
“But when I came to Himley I never thought I would be playing this type of cricket. I’m looking forward to it and I think it’s going to be a good experience for me.”
A native of Delhi, Bhatia has settled quickly since arriving at Himley in June and is hoping to play a key role as the club continue to challenge for the Birmingham League title.
He believes tournament’s like the Black Country Twenty20 will become more common as club’s look to gain a financial boost from an increasingly popular form of the game.
He said: “It’s the kind of format where entertainment is what you normally get. “People like to come to the ground for two to three hours, they get a good look at the cricket.
“Sometimes there is not the same pressure but when the games are close the pressure is definitely there.
“The clubs are looking forward and they should look forward.”
While Bhatia is perhaps used to more grandiose surroundings, Stourbridge are making their first appearance in the tournament.
Mikesh Patel, who will skipper their side, says the players are hoping to make an impact.
He said: “For our players its a chance to test themselves against players from higher up the Birmingham League.”