“My dream has always been to play in the whites for India,” Tilak said after scoring 121 for India A. “It’s my dream. To score a century for India A at the age of 19 in a country like India, which is full of talented players, is a matter of pride for me. I’m very happy with my performance and I want to do even better in the future.”
It was a fair return for someone who has an average of 52.26 and strike rate of 96.43 in List A cricket and corresponding numbers of 32.41 and 136.97 in T20 cricket.
“My IPL performance gave me a lot of self-confidence,” he said. “That has helped me perform well here too. The Mumbai [Indians] dressing room has such big names like Sachin [Tendulkar] sir and Rohit [Sharma] bhaiyya, and I was very nervous seeing them and even thought that I don’t deserve that place. But the team environment made me really comfortable. Rohit bhaiyya is the captain of India and such a senior player but he never made me feel like that while talking to him. He’s always ready to help on and off the field.”
“Your self-confidence obviously gets a boost when people like Rohit, Gavaskar sir, Sachin sir praise you,” he said. “These are good signs for me, but one also has to see how to receive such praise.
“Sometimes, young players come under pressure and some get overexcited too, but as a player you have to remain balanced. Such praise should also reflect in your performances.”
There are two more four-day games against New Zealand A, and then there is the Indian domestic season, which is now returning to its full calendar after truncated versions in the last two years because of Covid-19.
When asked about his targets for the new season, Tilak said, “I make targets for every day and don’t think too far ahead. I attempt to get better on a day-to-day basis. My competition is not with others but with myself – how much more can I improve my game and fitness. These are the things I focus on, and benefit from.”