HIKEN; Mumbai A canít
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Going into England's second practice-match of the tour against Mumbai A, few eyes were on Hiken Shah. Not even the local ones. What with a high-profile visiting side taking the field, not to forget two guest players in India No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara and Test hopeful Shikhar Dhawan.
With the team being led by young Suryakumar Yadav, the 27-year-old Shah couldn't even lay claim to being a mainstay in the Mumbai A side. Only last year, the plucky left-hander was busy scoring a typically defiant century to save the senior Mumbai side from a precarious 30/4 against Saurashtra at Rajkot. But with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Ajinkya Rahane manning the middle-order for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy opener, Shah had to be content with making an impression at the DY Patil Stadium. And an impression he did make, with a courageous and patient 92, top-scorer for Mumbai A.
Shah hardly looked ruffled against either James Anderson's pace and swing or Stuart Broad's bounce. Rarely did the English bowling look like hurrying Shah, who also spent two seasons at Jammu & Kashmir. He also hit the only six off the Mumbai A innings, a lofted on-drive off Samit Patel, and also looked exceedingly confident while countering Monty Panesar's testing spell.
Following the conclusion of the three-day contest, Shah spoke about the challenges of playing against a high-profile international outfit, his duel with Patel in the middle and his hopes of earning a recall to the Mumbai senior team.
On facing England
Obviously they are the No 1 team in the ICC World Ranking, and there is such quality in their fast bowling ranks. The spinners were good too, especially with the ball turning. It was difficult to score off the spinners and Monty (Panesar) was bowling into the rough, which it made it that much more difficult for me to get runs off him.
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