Prashant: 'I wasn't trying to get boundaries; they came my way'

“My idea was to play to my strength. I always knew that the ball will try to show me the exit way, but I won’t give in,” said Himachal's Prashant Chopra after making 271 runs in a day against Punjab.

Prashant Chopra is over the moon after reaching his hundred.   -  HPCA

The title track of the Bollywood flick Ae Dil Hai Mushkil  (This Heart Is Difficult) plays as the caller tune as one calls Prashant Chopra. This has been his favourite song for a year now, and every time he sees a call from known numbers, Chopra makes it a point to receive it at one go.

And on Friday, a few minutes after he returned to the pavilion after an unbeaten knock of 271 off 289 balls against Punjab in the Ranji Trophy opener, Chopra, 24, told Sportstar something interesting: “My idea was to play to my strength. I always knew that the ball will try to show me the exit way, but I won’t give in.”

Perhaps, that’s the mindset which helped him pummel Punjab’s bowling attack.

Most runs scored in a day in Ranji Trophy

PlayerRuns in a dayTeamOppositionSeason
Bhausaheb Nimbalkar277*MaharashtraKathiawar1948-49
Prashant Chopra271*HimachalPunjab2017-18
Cheteshwar Pujara261*SaurashtraKarnataka2012-13

*Unbeaten

“I got off to a good start, and passed the initial phase well. Then I went playing the way I wanted to. I wasn’t trying hard to get boundaries but even then, they came my way,” Chopra said.

Life on the field was certainly not mushkil’ (difficult) for the young gun, who has been chosen for India A’s match against New Zealand.

“I had a perfect idea about the wicket. Our camp has been good, and we knew how to go about it,” he said, drawing reference to Punjab’s heavyweight pace attack comprising Barinder Sran, Manpreet Gony and Sandeep Sharma.

“Their pace attack was good, but I could deliver the goods. We knew exactly what to do. We played a practice game a few days back on the same wicket, so we had a fair idea,” Chopra said.

Chopra's 271 surpassed Cheteshwar Pujara's 261 (against Karnataka in 2013) and was just six short of Bhausaheb  Nimbalkar’s 277, the most runs made by a batsman in a day of a Ranji Trophy match. Nimbalkar, for Maharashtra, went on to make an unbeaten 443 in the same match against Kathiawar in Pune in the 1948-49 season.

But Chopra is not ready to think about all that. When he walks into bat on Saturday, his target would be to start afresh. “Let’s forget what has happened today. This is a good wicket to bat on, and if I can be careful initially, it will go my way,” a rather confident Chopra stated.

With India A matches lined up, he will be missing Himachal’s next league match, but Chopra wants to maintain this form when he returns. “I want to keep performing for the team, and help Himachal win the Ranji Trophy. That’s my target,” he said.

After a successful season last year, the expectations have gone up for the young boy. And Chopra seems to be enjoying every bit of it.