I have confidence that if I spend time at the crease, I will score runs : The 26 year old Priyank Kirti Panchal of Gujarat did exactly what he has said. He spent time at the crease and scored tons of runs. He has had a very successful outing in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy 2016-17 season.
He also entered into the ‘record books’ by becoming the first-ever batsman from the state (Gujarat) Ranji Team to score 1,000+ runs in a season. This feat he achieved while playing in the game against Tamil Nadu at the KSCA Stadium, Belagavy.
With a tally of 1,310 runs from 10 games (17 innings) at an average of 87.33 and with the individual best of an unbeaten 314* runs, Panchal is sitting pretty at the top of the ‘leading run-getters’ list, closely followed on the heels by Nitin Saini of Haryana who has an accumulation of 989 runs from 18 innings at 61.81 average.
Panchal also has 4 centuries and 5 half centuries to his credit.
This performance is way ahead compared to his performance in the previous season (2015-16) with a tally of 665 runs. Certainly he has come a long way.
Since making his First Class debut against Saurashtra in Nov 2008, Panchal has featured in 54 FC games (87 innings – unbeaten on four occasions) and has a tally of 3,634 runs, at an average of 43.78, with 314* being his individual best. He also has 11 centuries and 13 half-centuries to his credit.
Priyank made his first appearance for the U15 team in the Polly Umrigar Trophy in 2003-04. He moved upwards to the U17 team and played in the Vijay Merchant Trophy 2005-06.
Starting the 2007-08 season with an appearance in India U19 team, Panchal made his List A debut for the senior team against Maharashtra in Feb 2008. From then on there has been no ‘looking back’ for this youngster.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo about his success, he says. “The focus is not that much on technique now, personally. I have confidence that if I spend time at the crease, I will score runs. When I spent time at NCA in my junior days, there was a lot of emphasis on change in technique, but it wasn”t working. My reasoning was if I spend so much time on technique, how will I be able to focus on runs? I”ve felt I need to hone my natural ability. Apart from that, the mental aspect is important – which bowlers do you line up, which bowler you try and play out? The situational awareness has helped me.”
The confidence and assurance he possesses today are a result of some conscious changes he has made to his game over the years.
The youngster has clearly ended the season ‘on a high’ both personally and as a team (with Gujarat winning the coveted trophy).
Now here is a guy in ‘red hot form’ and the BCCI selectors would do well to keep him in their ‘scheme of things’ and look at him as a future prospect for the national team.
Panchal should be ‘making it big’, sooner than later.