He was indeed "shocked" when he heard the news of his inclusion in the 30-member probables for the World T20 in Bangladesh but Rajat Bhatia's expectations from life and cricket are very "realistic".
"I am happy that I have been included in the 30-member probables list. Finally, my 15 years of hard work in domestic circuit has been acknowledged and I am thankful to BCCI. Having said that it is a 30-member probables and not the 15-member squad. So I have to be realistic. Bhai Dilli abhi bahoot dooor hain (Destination is far away)," Bhatia told PTI on Friday.
The veteran of 87 first-class and 104 T20 matches, Delhi all-rounder was honest in admitting that he was shocked when he got the news.
"Well, I didn't expect the call-up as I have been used to getting ignored when I was young. So suddenly, when I was told about my selection in probables, I was a bit zapped. I didn't expect to be selected and that's why I told you "thik se dekh lijiye, koi galti toh nahi huyi hain" (Just cross-check, hope there's no mistake)". That's why I only told my wife about this news," Bhatia said.
Asked about what this call-up means to him, Bhatia gave another practical reply, "For me, this is about being in that mix. Like I am in 30 and you never know that I might just a get a chance in the 15. That's far fetched but I am saying that I am in 30 top T20 cricketers in the country. This gives me strength to do well in the coming season and who knows I might wear that India jersey".
Bhatia has played three IPL seasons for the Delhi Daredevils and three for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Bhatia has been Delhi's 'go-to' man for close to a decade now (he started his first-class career for Tamil Nadu), he has been given many names by his statemates including "Sankat Mochan" (crisis Man) and the 34-year-old feels that he thrives in pressure situation.
"Look at my record over the years. Every year, I have been consistent performer for Delhi. I have scored centuries every season (he has 14 first-class, 3 list A and one T20 hundred), picked up wickets. I have worked on my fitness like any other youngster.
"There was a point of time that I had stopped thinking about the call-up but this inclusion in 30 has again rejuvenated me. In any case, playing for Delhi and KKR has been a huge motivation for me in these years," Bhatia said.
Bhatia is currently busy playing office-cricket for his team Indian Airlines which is keeping him in the groove as he gears up for the North Zone leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.