Hiken Shah was determined like never before to cement his place in the Mumbai side this season.
Having made his debut for Mumbai in 2006-07, the left-handed batsman has appeared in only 26 matches, four of them for Jammu & Kashmir in 2009-10 and nine this season.
Practising yoga on a regular basis for the last year or so has helped him immensely in accumulating runs, the 28-year-old said. “I was more in control of my mind. Yoga has helped me stay focused in the middle, take one ball at a time, rather than be pre-determined.
“I was not in the Mumbai team two years back. I decided that whatever opportunity I get, I would make the most of it. I was very keen to do well this year and want to win the Ranji title.”
Shah, who was not in the squad for the season opener against Railways, forced his way in with a meaningful 92, representing Mumbai ‘A’ against England. The manner with which he negotiated Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann caught the eye.
Shah has not looked back since. He scored a century in each of his first three matches for Mumbai this year, the most important knock coming against Bengal in the second innings. “The 118 I scored against Bengal was a special knock. The Brabourne pitch was not easy to bat on and the ball was swinging and turning. Wasim Jaffer fell early and there was pressure on the team. It was satisfying that I batted for a long time and did very well for the team.”
Shah said though he hardly spent time in the middle with Sachin Tendulkar in the two matches they played, he learnt a great deal from him.
“It is very helpful when you have a senior member in the team. It is important to play around him and take all the positive things. You learn from his preparation and determination on the field,” Shah said.
Having had a successful season, scoring 718 runs at 55.23 with three hundreds and three fifties, the No 3 bat said, “It will be more satisfying if I can perform well in the final and help my team win the trophy. Though I have twice been in the squad that won the final, I am looking forward to playing and contributing to the team’s win against Saurashtra.”