Nitish steps up to senior level

Nitish Rana cant't stop thanking one man, his coach Sanjay Bhardwaj. "Whatever I am, I owe to Sanjay sir. I cannot forget how he helped me overcome my finger injury and brought me back to playing cricket. That was the biggest happiness he gave me and today he doubled it," Rana says.

On Wednesday, the 19-year-old was informed by his coach that he was part of the senior Delhi squad, scheduled to travel to Dharamsala to play the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-dayers from February 13.

Bhardwaj can't take complete credit, of course. Some of it must go to Rana too, for the left-hander scored three hundreds and four fifties in a total of over 800 runs during the U-19 season for Delhi. "I was expecting a call up. During the Vijay Hazare probables camp, Vijay (Dahiya, coach of the Delhi senior team) sir helped me a lot in the nets. And my season was strong enough to back my nomination," Rana says. "But I am happy that I got a chance to go beyond the age-group level and I still need to do a lot of hard work."

Rana says he learned a lot from seniors like Mithun Manhas, Rajat Bhatia and Shikhar Dhawan at the camp at the Ferozeshah Kotla, but wasn't ever sure that he would get a chance to eventually share the dressing room with them. "As a youngster, I felt very comfortable when I first joined the camp. All the seniors helped me a lot and helped me overcome the initial pressure. I remember Manhas bhaiyya told me it is just about playing normal cricket and performing. Even if it is Ranji level, at the end of the day you just have to play the ball. So that was what relaxed me and I feel if I am given a chance, I will try and make the most of it," Rana says.

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