Ranji Trophy opens with contrasting tons from Ajinkya Rahane and Yash Dhull | Crickit

Ranji Trophy opens with contrasting tons from Ajinkya Rahane and Yash Dhull

By, , Mumbai/new Delhi
Feb 17, 2022 11:03 PM IST

India under-19 skipper dazzles on debut, Mumbai batter sends message ahead of Sri Lanka tour

An old hand trying to keep his India berth and a new kid on the block scored contrasting centuries on Thursday, the opening day of the Ranji Trophy. Mumbai’s Ajinkya Rahane gave notice ahead of the series against Sri Lanka with a solid, unconquered 108 and Yash Dhull, India’s under-19 World Cup winning captain who was bought by Delhi Capitals at the recent IPL auction, hit a breezy 113 against Tamil Nadu.

India under-19 skipper Yash Dhull dazzles on Ranji Trophy debut(Twitter/mufaddal_vohra)
India under-19 skipper Yash Dhull dazzles on Ranji Trophy debut(Twitter/mufaddal_vohra)

“The last 2-3 weeks have been amazing. A lot of big things have happened in my life. Attention se used to ho jaayenge. Hona hi padega (I will get used to the attention. There is no other choice),” said Dhull, speaking from Guwahati after stumps against Tamil Nadu.

Both centuries were rescue acts. Mumbai were 22/2 when Rahane walked in and 44/3 soon after. At 67/3, Dhull was seeing the top order collapse around him. Sarfaraz Khan joined Rahane to repair Mumbai’s innings with an unbroken 219-run stand and for Delhi, Dhull got support from Nitish Rana and Jonty Sidhu.  

Explaining why he took just 133 balls to reach his century, Dhull said: “My natural game is attacking. But there is a time period for attacking and defending. You have to adjust according to the situation.” 

Also Read | India Under-19 star Yash Dhull joins Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma in elite list with huge feat on Ranji Trophy debut 

Having played 250 balls, Rahane’s effort was staid in comparison but fetched praise from Mumbai coach Amol Muzumdar. 

“It was just a superb effort of unwavering concentration, an innings of substance,” said Muzumdar from Ahmedabad where Mumbai are playing defending champions Saurahstra. “When he wanted to defend, he was rock solid, when he attacked everything came out of the centre of the blade.”

“(Being) a little bit under pressure if you can call it, he comes out and plays a rock solid knock like that just speaks volumes of his dedication to the sport,” said Muzumdar, a former Mumbai captain. 

Rahane suffered a prolonged slump after leading India to a historic series win in Australia in 2020-21. In 2021, he played 13 Tests scoring 479 runs at an average of 20.82. His shot selection came under the scanner too, leading to the senior pro being stripped of vice-captaincy last December.

In the South Africa series last month, Rahane aggregated 136 from six innings.

That’s not been a problem for Dhull who scored 229 in four innings of the under-19 World Cup in West Indies earlier this month. This was the first time he was opening the innings. “My personal coach (Rajesh Nagar) had said that I will have to be ready to open. I was positive that I need to prove myself wherever I am getting a chance. I went in with a free mind,” said Dhull.

Nagar said he had spoken to Dhull on Wednesday night. “He was confident even though he had only played in the middle-order before this. He did say he will get set and look to score a century. He hit a boundary through point in the very first over. That showed the mindset he went in with.” 

Asked whether he sees Dhull as an opener in future, Nagar said: “I think he is a perfect No.3. But it depends on what the team wants. He doesn't have an issue adjusting to different positions.”

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