When opening batsman Dhruv Shorey resumed on Friday morning, the final day of Delhi’s Ranji Trophy tie against Andhra at the Ferozeshah Kotla grounds, he was battling fever and a finger injury.
The right-hander had already contributed significantly, reaching 142 not out by Thursday evening, the third day, to give Delhi a platform from where they could think of overhauling Andhra’s total and get three points on first-innings lead for the first time this season.
But since Delhi – who ended play on Day 3 at 300 for four wickets — were still 159 runs adrift off the visitors’ total and their batting has been shaky throughout the season, Shorey popped a crocin at night as well as a couple of other medicines that the physiotherapist gave in the morning, to return to batting.
He added 43 more to his overnight total and a further 66 in the morning session with fellow overnight batsman Himmat Singh to take Delhi within 100 runs of Andhra’s total before getting dismissed for 185.
Shorey’s effort and Himmat Singh’s maiden first-class century as well as some late order resistance took Delhi beyond the Andhra total.
Early end to play
Delhi ended on 488/9 declared before both teams shook hands and ended the match just before tea.
The three points earned on Friday takes Delhi’s tally to five points from five games and helps them in their cause to avoid relegation, which is accorded to the last team in the table.
“I had fever since last night. Also, I had hurt my finger with the ball on the first day. I had a crocin, physios gave me a couple of medicines,” said Shorey, draped in a hooded black sweatshirt, after the game.
“I have been a bit injured in this game, but I’ll try to get fit [for the game vs Mumbai]. I hope I recover well in one or two days,” added Shorey, who is on top of the Ranji Trophy run-getters’ list at the moment with 787 runs in five matches. He averages 112.42 and has hit three centuries this season.
Unlike Mumbai’s Prithvi Shaw, whose aggregate of 539 is largely buoyed by the 379 he hit against Assam this week, but is still being bandied to justify a possible return to India team, Shorey has been consistent with scores of 41, 0, 252 not out, 150 not out, 66, 70, 0, 23 and 185.
Explaining his strategy in this game, Shorey said, “The idea was to stay for as long as possible, bat as long as possible. Today was the fourth day, the wicket had begun to [aid] turn. They were bowling disciplined lines, but the idea was to occupy the crease. It did come off well.”
He has had to carry his state team’s batting line-up single-handedly this season.
After Shorey’s aggregate of 787 at No. 1 position, ahead of the likes of Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Sarfaraz Khan and Rajat Patidar, you have to go down to No. 88 in this season’s run-getters’ list to find another Delhi batsman. Left-handed Vaibhav Rawal, with 282 in five games, is Delhi’s second best.
Shorey says that batting with no support from other batsmen requires focus.
“You have to focus on your job. Take one game at a time, one ball at a time. My job is to bat. When I am batting well, my job is to make others look good as well. If there is a senior or a junior batting with me, I try to make them bat as well,” he added.
His influence on Himmat Singh, a talented striker who often throws away his wicket recklessly, was evident. The duo added 156 for the fifth wicket.
However, despite having a first-class career experience of seven years and having an average in mid-fifties (56.35 now), it is quite surprising that the 30-year-old hasn’t been even called up for India A, the national second-string team, let alone the India senior team.
He was asked about it.
“Things [that] aren’t in your control (selection to India team), what are you going to comment on it? Our job is to score big runs. Then we’ll see how things pan out. I am sure people (national selectors) are looking at the performances,” he said to the media on Friday afternoon.
“It is the passion for the game [which helps me carry on despite no call-ups from national selectors]. I like to bat. Whether it is T20, one-day or Ranji Trophy, I like to bat. I am happy, it is coming off well. I have been practicing hard, so the starts are getting converted into big scores. I am very happy,” he said further.
Though being a 30-year-old may not make him a young prospect, he is still hopeful.
“If I make runs, I am sure the runs and my name will be discussed. The rest is in the hands of the selectors. My job is to score big runs, get good numbers, get wins for the team,” he added.
Delhi next play star-studded Mumbai from December 17 at the Kotla grounds.