Ajinkya Rahane is a special player, he always shows this in any format he plays, be it Ranji, Internationals or other domestic leagues. He strives to give more than 100% but critics sometimes override the person’s determination to be fair and play good. Ajinkya Rahane in his opening at Ranji Trophy from Baroda has hit a ton in very first match of the season.

While the 33-year-old Rahane (batting 108) will hope that this innings will help him inject fresh life into his wobbling Test career, 19-year-old Dhull (113), who also happens to be the captain of the India U-19 side which won the World Cup recently, will expect his knock to impress the selectors as he dreams of a place in the Indian Test side.

Rahane and Sarfaraz Khan (121 batting off 219 balls) guided Mumbai to 263/3 against Saurashtra on Day I in Ahmedabad.  Rahane took his time to get settled at crease, but once comfortable he played his shots, hitting 14 boundaries and two sixes.

On the other hand, for young Dhull it was a graduation to the senior level with top marks. His well-crafted ton helped Delhi get to 291/7 against Tamil Nadu in Guwahati.

What made Dhull’s effort even more remarkable was the fact that he batted in an unfamiliar opening position. There was no nervousness in his batting as his runs came at a quick click and he also hit as many as 18 boundaries.

Dhull’s U-19 teammate, all-rounder Raj Bawa, too had a dream Ranji Trophy debut.

Playing for Chandigarh, Bawa, who bowls medium-pace, got a wicket off his very first ball as he had Hyderabad captain Tanmay Agarwal caught behind. Bawa finished the day with 2/43 as Hyderabad reached 270/7 at stumps.

It has been since ages that Ranji Trophy provided a nurturing platform for the players so that they can cope with the pressure they will face in Internationals. And yet again Ranji Trophy this year will prove to be the same.


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