NAGPUR: The conditions at Jamtha stadium is not new to Ashutosh Singh.
The Chhattisgarh No. 3 had scored century against Vidarbha Under-23 in his previous outing at the same venue two years ago. In fact, every time he comes to the Orange city, he makes substantial contribution with the bat. The right-hander had also scored a hundred against one of the Vidarbha sides in the last edition of Bapuna Cup.
Ashutosh (113, 222b, 16×1) continued his love affair with the city to score his second First Class ton during their Ranji Trophy Group ‘D’ match on Tuesday. While he was happy with his efforts on previous occasions, Ashutosh isn’t satisfied this time despite playing beautifully throughout the opening day.
Ashutosh couldn’t handle Umesh Yadav’s short delivery properly and perished in the last over of the day. Ashutosh got out to the ball, which he could have easily let go. “I am really disappointed with the way I got out. I worked very hard whole day and should have returned unbeaten. My team needed me to stay on as we had pushed Vidarbha on the backfoot,” Ashutosh told TOI after his brilliant innings.
Ashutosh, who hails from Ambikapur, had represented Madhya Pradesh in BCCI age category tournaments. He has been one of the performers for Madhya Pradesh. Scoring hundred isn’t new to him. He has scored two in Under-16, four in Under-19 and one each in Under-23 and Under-25 categories. Last year, Ashutosh created history when he became first batsman to score a hundred on debut during Chhattisgarh’s first Ranji Trophy match in Ranchi. His knock in adverse conditions had given Chhattisgarh their first victory on debut.
Since then, the 23-year-old has got past the fifty-mark four times but couldn’t convert the starts into hundred. It was his day on Tuesday. “It was a relief to get hundred again. I have missed out on a quite a few hundreds since last season. It feels nice to score against a good bowling line-up. The conditions were good for batting after the first hour. We applied very well and played each ball on its merit,” Ashutosh said.
It was the second match for Chhattisgarh where they faced international bowlers. In the last match, they were up against the likes of Mohammad Shami and Ashok Dinda. In this match, they faced Umesh Yadav and Karn Sharma. He scored a fighting 71 in the second innings against Bengal. In fact, it was his wicket that triggered the collapse.
Ashutosh said he wasn’t nervous about facing the likes of Umesh and Shami. “I was actually excited to face them. I trust my abilities and technique. They are two top bowlers and I could judge during my last two innings. However, I was focusing on each ball at a time. I was concentrating on the ball not the bowler. There’s no point focusing on reputation of a bowler,” he said.
Ashutosh had a word of praise for Amandeep Khare with whom he added 227 for the third wicket. “I would say, he batted better than me. In his short career, Aman has shown hunger for runs. It’s amazing to see how he bats. I was enjoying from the other end,” he said.