Hiken Shah may not be in the league of Wasim Jaffer, Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane, but he is as vital for Mumbai as any of the three. He has stood like a rock when his team needed him.
After a string of poor performances this season followed by a match-saving 58 & 21* against Jharkhand in the previous fixture, left-handed Shah scored a career best 170 (275B, 21x4, 3x6) to put Mumbai on top against Orissa in Group A Ranji Trophy tie at the Wankhede on Sunday.
Shah’s 222-run third wicket stand with Wasim Jaffer (143, 290B, 13x4, 3x6) laid a strong platform for Mumbai, who declared at 501/9. Bowlers, led by Javed Khan (2/7), reduced Orissa to 79/3 with Natraj Behera (45*) and Abhilash Mallick (28*) at crease at stumps on Day Two.
Resuming at 242/2, Jaffer and Shah added another 50 to their overnight total. Once skipper Jaffer returned to the pavilion after being caught by Basanth Mohanty at third man off medium pacer Deepak Behera, Shah took the initiative. He unleashed his aggression and went for his shots.
After getting his maiden ton of the season, he took only 23 balls to reach 150. Suryakumar Yadav was dismissed LBW by left-arm spinner Dhiraj Singh for 170, ending a 99-run stand with Shah.
Shah said it was a crucial knock for him. “I have not had a good season. Also I was dropped once.
In the last match against Jharkhand, I did well, but this knock was very crucial. I got to bat at No. 4, which is a crucial position, and I had to justify that,” Shah told dna. He played a crucial role in Mumbai’s 40th title last season notching up 773 runs from 10 games with three centuries and four 50s.
At a time when batting seems to revolve around T20, Shah is enjoying his orthodox style.
“Everyone plays differently. I take time, but once I am set, I play my shots. I don’t get carried away with today’s form of cricket.”