New Delhi: Battle-hardened Shikhar Dhawan was all guts and grit while negotiating tough "English conditions" as he boosted Delhi's morale with a well-controlled 137 against Hyderabad in their Ranji Trophy group A match on Wednesday.
A spicy Feroz Shah Kotla track to deal with on a chilly Delhi winter morning was a stiff challenge and Dhawan responded with an unbeaten century that took his side to a safe 269 for six on a curtailed opening day.
Dhawan's knock would do a world of good to the confidence of a side, which was spiralling southwards, as he hit 19 fours and two sixes in his 198-ball innings. "It was more like English conditions. It's satisfying to score runs in these conditions. With experience you get idea of what shots to play on what kind of track. The shots that I would have played when I was a 21 or 22 years old, I didn't play here. I didn't drive any of those deliveries," Dhawan, playing his first first-class game in 15 months, told reporters.
Dhawan's body language never gives away what's on his mind and he says his uncluttered mind is the secret of his success. "I had nothing on my mind. Jo cheez aani hai woh aa jati hain (I react to situations). I am a very relaxed person and I don't make my mind heavy with extra thoughts. The way you guys think, I don't think like that," he laughed.
"Today, I played what we call 'Box cricket' which means playing close to your body. I didn't play most of the deliveries outside the off-stump. Some of our young guys, fiddled with those deliveries. Now this comes with experience. You have a look at the wicket and you know what shots you will play," said the left-hander, who scored his 30th first-class hundred.
Delhi 269/6 in 66 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 137 not out, Anuj Rawat 29, Kunwar Bidhuri 22 not out) vs Hyderabad.
DAY 1 round-up:
- Bengal 241/ 4 vs Andhra.
- Puducherry 286/ 3 leads Mizoram 73 by 213 runs.
- Haryana 274/ 6 vs Jharkhand
- Bihar 260/ 5 vs Goa.
- Maharashtra 238/ 6 vs Chhattisgarh.
- Odisha 98/ 3 trails Uttarakhand 117 by 19 runs.
- Arunachal Pradesh 10/ 0 trails Manipur 196 by 186 runs.
- Nagaland 45/ 1 trails Sikkim 269 by 224 runs.
- Madhya Pradesh 56/ 3 trails Tamil Nadu 149 by 93 runs.
- Himachal Pradesh 29 for 3 trails Karnataka 166 by 137 runs.
- Saurashtra 322/ 8 vs UP
- Services 23/ 2 trails Tripura 126 by 103 runs.
- J&K 59/ 1 vs Assam.
- Gujarat 127 and 1/ 0 leads Kerala 70 by 58 runs.
- Vidarbha 196/ 6 vs Punjab.