Priyank Panchal: 'Amazing to score 1000 runs in Ranji'

He made his Ranji debut in 2008-09 and went on to score a relatively unremarkable 2543 runs in his first 47 matches.

"It's amazing. I've been wanting to do this for the past two years now. I had scored more than 600 runs last season but wasn't satisfied for I wanted to score 1000 runs," said Panchal.   -  Special Arrangement

Priyank Panchal became the first batsman from Gujarat, and the 17th overall, to score 1000 runs in a Ranji season on Wednesday.

On how he feels having got to the feat, he said, "It's amazing. I've been wanting to do this for the past two years now. I had scored more than 600 runs last season but wasn't satisfied for I wanted to score 1000 runs. Keeping that in mind, I worked harder on all aspects of my game, and I can see that it's paying off."

He made his Ranji debut in 2008-09 and went on to score a relatively unremarkable 2543 runs in his first 47 matches. It's only for three Ranji seasons now that his aggregate has consistently swelled up - he scored 500-plus runs in 2014-15, 600-plus last season, and has broken the 1000-run barrier this season. He attributes the turnaround to his off-side play that he's worked on, and strengthened.

"As an opener, I wanted to tighten my technique on the off-side. Ninety per cent of the bowlers bowl on the fourth stump line, or roughly outside the off-stump. So, I practiced hard on leaving the ball outside the off-stump, what balls are to be chosen to drive, and what balls are to be defended."

So, does it imply that he wasn't good on the off-side to begin with?

"I was good, but not confident about it. Early in my career, I tended to nick the ball a lot and get out caught behind or at the slips."

He said that his ton versus Railways at Lahli, on a track that was tough to bat, gave him immense confidence.

"That innings gave me a lot of confidence. On that type of wicket, it's easy for one to be reduced to think that he just has to survive. But, one had to be positive to succeed in such conditions. Later, when I scored a triple ton versus Punjab here (Belagavi), the wicket had little bit of grass and aided movement initially. I kept reminding myself of that innings at Lahli, took inspiration from it, and went on to score the triple hundred."

Asked how his experience as a batsman been, playing at neutral venues this season, he said, "In the seasons before, we had the home advantage. We will know what kind of wickets are being prepared for the home games. Now, it's not there, and it's challenging for a batsman. It helps one to raise his batting standard. I want to be adaptive to different conditions, and this idea helps it."

His primary approach is to gauge the bowlers he faces, ease in, and build on to a big score. "Whoever I'm facing I have to get comfortable against them as early as I can."

Gujarat captain, and senior teammate Parthiv Patel has been a big source of support for him.

"Parthiv bhai has always been an inspiration. He has tremendous work ethic, and is a smart cricketer. He has helped me a lot in my career. He's been very consistent in domestic cricket, and has now made a comeback after so many years. His case proves that one cannot give up hope at any point in time."