Mindset change turns it around for Gohil

After enduring two lacklustre domestic seasons with the bat, Samit Gohil has "changed his mindset" to sow the seeds for his unbeaten 359 in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.

Samit Gohil broke a 117-year-old record for the highest score by an opener carrying his bat.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Until last Tuesday, Gujarat’s cricketing circles, especially the Ranji Trophy team, had not expected their own Samit Bhanubhai Gohil could notch up a triple-century in a first-class match.

So, when the 26-year-old right hander from Anand put all his resources together to make an unconquered 359 (723b, 45 x 4s, 1 x 6) against Odisha in the second innings of the > Ranji Trophy quarterfinal, he surprised himself and made the world take notice of his remarkable effort.

Having virtually secured the match by way of taking the first-innings lead for an entry into the semifinals, Gujarat chose to use the remaining time in the five-day match for batting practice, and allowed Gohil to > break the 117-year-old world record for the highest by an opening batsman carrying his bat.

Gohil obliterated the record held by Surrey’s Bobby Abel, who had scored 357 not out against Somerset in 1899. A few other records also fell by the wayside in the course of his 16-hour-four-minutes undertaking.

Gohil became the second Gujarat batsman and fifth overall to score a triple in the ongoing season. All the while it was Gohil’s opening partner, Prinyak Panchal, who was making the big splash, scoring four centuries, including an unbeaten 314 against Punjab in Belgavi. But the world-record feat turned the attention on Gohil, whose chequered career spanning 28 first-class matches has delivered only 1775 runs at 41.27. He has been in and out of the team, dropped on account of poor form in his third and fourth seasons.

He scored 320 runs in five matches of his debut season (2012-13) and 411 from eight matches (including a 102 against Punjab in Mohali), but was dropped for inconsistency in the next seasons when he played seven matches together.

'Positive'

Explaining the reasons for his poor form in 2014-15-16, he said: “I was in the squad always. I was looking to score [via] boundary shots earlier on in my innings and I got out to good balls and also playing loose shots. The support staff told me that I have to change my mindset. They told me that I can score through singles, which means I would have to find gaps, and by doing so, I would also get boundaries. That’s what I have done...change my mindset. I worked on my game during the off season and scored heavily in the inter-district matches. I have been positive and selective in shot making.”

Gohil began the season on a dismal note, failing to score in both innings against Mumbai in Karnataka State Cricket Association’s Dr. (Capt) K. Thimmappiah tournament in Mysore last July.

“I went to Mysore after scoring in the district matches and looked to learn and find good practice against teams. Opening with Priyank also helped. We spoke to each other constantly, on and off the field. More importantly, we were watching each other bat. After playing for such a long time, I have gained confidence and belief in me and [I’m not thinking] too [far] ahead. I also followed the instructions not to rush through with my game.”

Gujarat’s new sensation did not want to talk about his team’s chances against Jharkhand in the semifinal. “We will play session-by-session, we don’t want to predict turn of events.”