Outside Uttar Pradesh, both Shivakant Shukla and Parvinder Singh are unknown even in cricketing circles, but all that changed on Wednesday. "It was a perfect day for me and I made full use of it," said Shivakant, who is yet to cement his place in the team since making his debut in 2003.
“I started afresh this morning and kept playing my natural game. The coach wanted me to bat till the end, and I did that. Any individual record in this match doesn't make a difference as I wanted to see my team through to the final," said the 22-year-old from Allahabad. Shivakant also defended the poor shot selection by key all-rounders Piyush Chawla and Praveen Kumar.
"That's the way they play normally and they have been very successful. Any of them could have clicked today, and the match would have been decided much earlier."
Parvinder Singh was just as elated to play his part. "Batting with Shiva was a great experience and I enjoyed every moment of his (Shiva's) batting."
Mohammad Kaif also showered praise on both Shiva and Parvinder. "Both were excellent. Shivakant always had that talent, and today he transformed this into a great performance."
Uttar Pradesh coach Gyanendra Pandey admired Shivakant's batting style. "Great knock. Shiva never lost his cool and kept playing balls on their merit."