The Vijay Hazare Trophy may have marked Hiten Dalal's debut at the elite level, but the 23-year-old is known for his prolific scoring and attractive stroke-making in Delhi cricket.

A student of Kulachi Hansraj Model School - the institution renowned for supporting cricket in a big way - Dalal, mentored by coach Sanjay Bharadwaj at the L.B. Shastri Club, showed his talent as a right-handed opener and leg-spinner in various age-group and club level tournaments.

He was adjudged Man-of-the-Series in the Daredevils Cup in 2013 and brushed shoulders with the likes of Mahela Jayawardena, David Warner, Morne Morkel and Irfan Pathan at the Delhi Daredevils nets. 

Dalal's perseverance and patience finally paid off. Having hammered 468 runs, which included a hundred and three half-centuries, at an impressive average of 52, he played a key role in Delhi's run to the C.K. Nayudu Trophy title and kept knocking at the selectors' door.

He also had 332 runs under his belt - studded with a hundred and two half-centuries in four innings - in the under-23 one-dayers.

The controversial selection of Sarthak Ranjan for the Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament might have delayed Dalal's entry into the Delhi side, but it could not deny him a rightful place.

Gautam Gambhir's absence due to an ankle issue opened the gate for Dalal, who grabbed the opportunity to leave a mark in the Vijay Hazare Trophy Group B matches.

Dalal, who has plenty of time to play his strokes and can clear the ropes effortlessly, scored a 64-ball 57 on his debut against Uttar Pradesh and followed it up with two more half-centuries against Tripura (76 off 81) and Maharashtra (85-ball 87).

“With players like Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand and Shikhar Dhawan ahead of you, one has to wait for his chance. I wanted to make the most of this opportunity,” Dalal told Sportstar.

Dalal understands that he needs to convert his half-centuries into three-figure marks. His next opportunity comes when Delhi - 12 points from three wins - faces Bengal at the A.B. Vajpayee Stadium here on Sunday.

Bengal to miss Dinda

Meanwhile, Bengal, which has an outside chance after managing two points from three matches, will miss the services of its bowling spearhead Ashoke Dinda, who will return home due to health issues.

Medium pacers Alok Pratap Singh and B. Amit have joined the squad for the remaining three matches.