Six years ago, when Vineet Saxena returned to Rajasthan after playing for Railways for a season, he felt unwanted and decided to give up the game. But not one to give in without a fight, Saxena wanted to give it one last shot to prove a point to his detractors.
The following season, Saxena did a lot more and on Friday was the toast of the team, as he became the first batsman in 13 years to score a double century in the Ranji final against Tamil Nadu.
"What makes it special is that this is my first double century and to score it in a Ranji final is something unimaginable," Saxena told HT.
But even the 31-year-old admitted that the opportunity would not have come had he given in to disappointment and quit the game.
"After I returned to Rajasthan for the 2006-07 season, I could feel the tension in the dressing room. I got just two games and was dropped. I got disillusioned and even took up a course in financial management," said Saxena, who played five Ranji games and one Irani Cup match for Railways in the 2005-06.
"I went back to Udaipur and spent six months all alone. The period helped me introspect and also made me mentally stronger, something that is helping me now," he said.
Saxena slowly cemented his place in the team and played an important role in Rajasthan's historic Ranji triumph last year, where he scored two centuries and a couple of half centuries at an average of 51.45.
Even this year, Rajasthan are indebted to him for the 127-run knock against Saurashtra on a green track that kept them alive in the tournament and the gutsy 58 in the second innings of the semifinal against Haryana.