Prashant Chopra: Return to form a result of not ‘hurrying for runs’

The elegant Himachal Pradesh opener says correcting a particular aspect of his game and guidance from his coach helped him come back in form after a horrid 2020-21 season in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Prashant Chopra in action.   -  Vijay Soneji

Rishi Dhawan isn’t the only player from Himachal Pradesh going through a purple patch. In the semifinal of the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Friday, opener Prashant Chopra, too, registered his fifth half-century in seven matches. His knocks have helped his team start its innings well or steady itself after a hiccup or two as it notched win after win to make it to the final of the competition. It has been a tremendous comeback since his horrific run last season when he scored 55 runs in five matches. 

The return to form, he says, has been aided by tweaking a particular aspect of his batting – he is no more “hurrying for runs.”  

“I’ve worked hard, very hard,” he told Sportstar.  

“At the beginning of the season, you have a certain target in your head about the number of runs you want to score. But after that a season like that (2020-21), you’re out of sorts. Before the Ranji Trophy started, we had a camp in Dharamsala, and I had a word with coach Anuj Pal Das who had joined us. I felt I was batting well, but I wasn’t able to score runs. When you’re seeing the ball well but you’re still not able to score, you’re hurrying for runs, and that’s what happened with me.

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“Coach gave me the confidence. He just said to me: ‘Just keep doing what you do best’. And he still thinks that I’ve not delivered my best,” Prashant said. 

Prashant’s run-making at the top of the order has gone along well with Rishi Dhawan’s cameos towards the end. It isn’t a coincidence that their team has ensured a great white-ball season – both have carried their good form from the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the T20 competition, into the 50-over competition. 

Himachal Pradesh captain Rishi Dhawan.   -  N.Sudarshan

 

Moreover, Rishi, the captain has excelled with the ball, too. 

“What I feel with Rishi is that he has a clear thought process, and whenever he goes in any situation – be it with the bat or with the ball – he just wants to perform,” Prashant said.  

“He is clear about his thoughts. While, batting he knows where his runs are, so he doesn’t think too much about what the wicket is doing. He brings a lot in terms of his thought process so all the youngsters feel very motivated with that, and they learn a lot from what Rishi does in both batting and bowling. The youngsters in the team look up to him and learn a lot from him. He doesn’t think too far ahead, just about that day, and just keeps performing day in day out.”

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And his all-around effort on Friday got HP a berth in the final, which Prashant says is a “dream come true.” 

‘Dream come true’

“As a unit, we’ve always dreamt of playing the final in all formats of cricket – be it white-ball or red-ball cricket. But the actual dream of the team (sic) is to win the trophy, so we’re focussing on that. We cherished the moment yesterday for five minutes in the dressing room and then focussed on the final for tomorrow.” 

Tamil Nadu is a team well known to HP. They’ve locked horns in the Ranji Trophy for two seasons in the row – 2018-19 and 2019-20. In List-A cricket, though, the final will be their second meet-up: TN won in Cuttack in February 2017 by eight wickets. 

“We’re confident that we’re playing good cricket, it’s nothing to do with the past records. Every time there are new players – in our team as well as in the Tamil Nadu team. We take confidence from our preparations and our processes that we’ve followed, but the more important thing is to play the final,” he concluded. 

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