Jaipur: Rajasthan's wicketkeeper-batsman Dishant Yagnik has long been tagged as a 'limited-overs specialist', thanks to some rollicking cameos in domestic one-dayers and Twenty20s, but he has come of age in the longer format as well. On Saturday, Yagnik made an unbeaten 76 to guide his team to 478 in the first innings in their second-round Ranji Trophy match against Mumbai.
At one stage, Rajasthan were 399 for 8 but Yagnik, along with Pankaj Singh, knocked off a 62-run partnership for the ninth wicket to ease Rajasthan past 450. He shielded Pankaj initially by stepping up and scoring runs at a blistering pace while taking singles off the last balls of an over, and later showed confidence in the No. 10 as they spent some time in the middle.
In 2011-12, the 29-year-old scored his maiden first-class century against Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals and his fine knock of 76 against Mumbai is a perfect appetizer form him to push the envelope. Speaking to Cricketnext, Yagnik said he wanted to prove his detractors wrong.
"People used to say that I'm susceptible against the moving ball and could only play well in limited-overs cricket. So, I took it as a challenge to improve my credentials in the longer format. I love to take on the new challenges so I wanted to dispel this notion,” he said. “My century against Hyderabad in last season's quarter-final made everyone take notice that I could come good in first-class cricket as well, and today's innings will further stake my claim as a quality first-class batsman."
The left-hand batsman confessed that it took a lot of hard work and heaped praise on his Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar whose advice came in handy. "I spent hours in the nets to work on my batting. I analysed my weak areas to iron out the technical flaws. Hrishi bhaiya guided me about how to counter lateral movement and told me the importance of playing the ball late. Those things helped me a lot to polish my skills. Having him around is a major boon, not only to me but for entire Rajasthan team. I've only achieved five percent of what I've planned. There's a lot of scope of improvement."
About his innings on Saturday, Yagnik asserted that his idea was to get Rajasthan past 450 from 399 for 8. "It was important for us to pile up a total in excess of 450, especially after the kind of start we got. Once the lower-middle order crumbled, the onus was on me to take Rajasthan to a strong total. I let the ball come to me rather than reaching for the ball,” he said. “I didn't want to throw my bat around at everything though we were in quest of quick runs. Runs could be made by playing shots judiciously. Mumbai’s bowlers were pitching the ball at leg-stump to stifle me for runs but I made a slight adjustment in my stance and clocked up runs by flicking and gliding the ball in the leg side."
Yagnik was satisfied with the total Rajasthan put up and felt the defending Ranji champions had a slight edge over Mumbai at this moment. "A total of 478 is very good on this wicket. Though Mumbai has a strong batting line-up, we're confident of restricting them under this score. The wicket will offer a lot of purchase to the fast bowlers in the morning session due to moisture and dew. We've quality fast bowlers in our ranks and we're looking forward to snap up few wickets tomorrow in the morning session."