Rahane’s advice helps Jaiswal to double ton in Duleep Trophy final

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“The words are still fresh. I have kept them close to my heart. Ajju bhai (Ajinkya Rahane) once told me that to play a long innings, start with small goals. Keep targets of five runs each, don’t play anything rash and most importantly, just stay there. To win a big battle, I need to stay at the crease and runs will surely come. A good ball may take your wicket, but you don’t give any chance.”

Yashasvi Jaiswal recalls the words of wisdom he received during the first game of this season’s Duleep Trophy while batting with Rahane, who is captaining West Zone. At 20, the Mumbai opener has been in a rich vein of form. His unbeaten 209 runs against South Zone in a tight final at Coimbatore, is his second double hundred in two weeks.

Jaiswal had come from a healthy Ranji Trophy season where he had scores of 35, 103, 100, 181, 78 and 1 for Mumbai. In six first-class games since June, he has amassed 938 runs. For a boy who looked perfectly suited to white-ball cricket, the left-hander has learnt the craft of playing a long innings.

“I just went and asked Ajju bhai how he played those big innings and how I should go about it? There are many who score hundreds but how to score big hundreds? He listened to me and said I need to start following the process. To get the whole khadoos (stubborn) thing in my batting, I need to be calm. Respect the bowler if he is bowling well. Pick the bowlers to score runs and wait for the right moment. Believe in my process and be disciplined,” Jaiswal narrates.

He describes how South Zone kept a deep point fielder and left-arm spinner Sai Kishore wanted him to play the cut shot, but Rahane advised him not to as the pitch had uneven bounce.

“I didn’t play the cut shot in that particular session and when Kishore gave it up and had to change his strategy, it was then that I began to play my shots. I’m very happy with the way I’m batting. I always wanted to perform on the big stage and scoring in the Duleep Trophy final gives a special feeling, especially when it’s hard to predict the pitch,” he explained.

South Zone had taken a 57-run first innings lead and if West Zone needed to stay in the game, their top order needed to come to the party.

Jaiswal’s innings enabled West Zone post 376 for 3 by stumps on the third day. His innings came off 244 balls with the help of 23 fours and three sixes. At close, West Zone led by 319 runs. Jaiswal added 169 runs for the third wicket with Shreyas Iyer and 58 in the unbroken fourth-wicket stand with Sarfaraz Khan.

Jaiswal says he has been picking points from everyone to improve his game. He spoke with Sarfaraz and tried to understand what it took to build an inning after getting a good start. To keep that same focus and same intensity can be a big task for any batsman.

“I’m in the right frame of mind. I have taken each game as it comes and not thought too far ahead. It is very important for a cricketer to remain in the present. What I have scored is in the past now and to be relevant, I need to keep scoring these big runs on a regular basis,” he added.

Brief Scores: West Zone 270 (Patel 98; Sai Kishore 5-86) and 376 for 3 (Jaiswal 209*, Iyer 71, Sai Kishore 2-100) lead South Zone 327 (Indrajith 118, Unadkat 4-52) by 319 runs.





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