Yash Dhull hits second ton on debut, joins rare Ranji Trophy club | Crickit

Yash Dhull hits second ton on debut, joins rare Ranji Trophy club

By, New Delhi
Feb 20, 2022 08:46 PM IST

The U-19 World Cup winning skipper took a big first step at senior level, scoring 113* after his first-innings century in Delhi’s drawn opening game against Tamil Nadu in Guwahati

With the first-innings lead conceded, there wasn’t much for Delhi to gain from the fourth and final day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group H clash against Tamil Nadu in Guwahati on Sunday. Yash Dhull though had a different idea. Having impressed with a breezy 113 in 150 deliveries in his maiden first-class innings on Thursday, the U-19 World Cup-winning captain embellished his debut further by becoming only the third player to score centuries in each innings on Ranji debut.

Yash Dhull became the third player to score centuries in each innings on Ranji Trophy debut.(Twitter)
Yash Dhull became the third player to score centuries in each innings on Ranji Trophy debut.(Twitter)

Only Nari Contractor (152 and 102* for Gujarat in 1952/53 season) and Virag Awate (126 and 112 for Maharashtra in 2012/13) had achieved the feat in 87 years of the competition.

On a placid pitch that saw more than 1,150 runs scored over the four days, Dhull finished unbeaten on 113 off 202 balls in the second innings as the match was drawn with Delhi on 228/0. Fellow opener Dhruv Shorey was 107 not out. “I got to know only after the innings that it was a rare feat. I just wanted to make Tamil Nadu field all day. I wasn’t thinking much else,” a smiling Dhull said after the game on Sunday. 

Dhull’s promising debut is bound to magnify the spotlight on him. Delhi Capitals bought the local player at the recent IPL auction.

“He is a brilliant player. I think a star is born,” said Delhi coach Rajkumar Sharma. “He has a lot of potential. If he keeps working hard, he can make it big for the country, for a very long time.”

Dhull’s smooth beginning is all the more impressive given that he was opening the batting for the first time. He has played mostly at No 3 or 4 in age-group cricket, but a packed Delhi middle-order meant the 19-year-old had to seize his chance at the top. At the U-19 World Cup, Dhull scored 229 in four innings with a match-winning century against Australia in the semi-finals. 

“His temperament has impressed me the most. He was opening the innings on debut, but the way he dominated the TN attack was brilliant. That showed how mature and confident he is about his game. He was offered the opening slot and he accepted it. He is a brave boy. He didn’t shy away from the situation,” Sharma said.

Sharma –Virat Kohli’s childhood coach –knows what goes into grooming a top-class batter.

“There is a bit of resemblance (with Kohli). The way he plays the flick shot towards midwicket is a bit similar. Like Virat, Dhull also uses a lot of the bottom hand while playing the cover drive against spinners.”

Such lavish praise is unlikely to make the boy from west Delhi get carried away. “Till the moment you are scoring runs, the world will ask about you. He has scored two tons but his next four innings become even more important now. He doesn’t think much about his successes or failures. He always thinks about what he has to do next. He is level-headed,” said Dhull’s coach, Rajesh Nagar.

In conversations with Nagar, Dhull’s mental strength is repeatedly brought up as one of his big virtues. It is due to Delhi’s ruthless cricket ecosystem that Dhull has found his way through. “The competitive system is a positive and negative of Delhi cricket. If anybody is playing Ranji for Delhi and climbing up the ladder, he is already mentally strong because he has faced so many challenges,” Nagar said.

A key feature of Dhull’s innings on Sunday was his aversion to taking undue risks, instead willing to bide his time and compile a century that was there for the taking. His only six came against Shahrukh Khan’s part-time off-spin, but not before he had crossed the three-figure mark.

“The two centuries were with very different mindsets. The ton in the first innings was very attacking. He showed his temperament in the second innings. He has good basics. He is adding new things to his game all the time. He controlled his aggression (on Sunday). He doesn’t consume so many balls usually,” said Nagar.

As Dhull starts playing more, opponents will start investing time in their team meetings on him, dissecting weaknesses in his game. As long as Dhull follows what he has been doing till now, Sharma believes the youngster will be fine. “My advice for him is just to keep working hard like he does and stay focused.”

Brief scores: Delhi 452 & 228/0 (Y Dhull 113*, D Shorey 107*); Tamil Nadu 494. Match drawn

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