The return of Jay Bista

After being dropped from Mumbai's Ranji Trophy squad, the 20-year-old Bista finished as the highest run-getter in the Col C. K. Nayudu Trophy; scored a century in the Irani Cup; and today, carted England's bowlers and brushed off Ben Stokes' "bad words".

Jay Bista (in picture) attempts a scoop off Ben Stokes.   -  Vivek Bendre

Jay Bista has made a habit of proving naysayers wrong. Soon after he was dropped from the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad for apparently churning out underwhelming performances, he scored century after century for Mumbai Under-23 at the Col C. K. Nayudu Trophy. His tally of 1,081 runs – the highest in the tournament – propelled the team to win the prestigious trophy.

A week after that, he was rightfully rewarded with a place in Mumbai's Irani Cup squad. There, he carted Rest of India’s Jaydev Unadkat, Krishna Das, Ankit Rajpoot, Stuart Binny and Jayant Yadav — in the presence of chief selector Sandeep Patil — to all corners of the Brabourne Stadium to conjure a 90-ball 104, inclusive of 15 fours and a six. He also scored a breezy 38 in the second innings.

Four days later, and at the same venue, Bista almost floored the England team with his fearless strokeplay. Turning out for a Mumbai Cricket Association XI also comprising — funnily enough — four English players in James Vince, Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid and David Willey against, well, a team full of Englishmen, Bista scored an enterprising 51 (37 balls, 5x4, 2x6). For 50 minutes on Monday afternoon, he frustrated the likes of Reece Topley, Chris Jordan, Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett. In the end, the visitor won the warm-up match only by 14 runs.

Read the detailed match report >here

Opening the batting with the prolific Shreyas Iyer, Bista went about his business with purpose. Neither the 178-run target nor the might of the bowlers, many of them double his size, daunted him.

A six over point, off Jordan, in the second over delighted the motley crew of supporters. So did the two fours he collected off Stokes. And, when he heaved Plunkett for a six over long-on, the visiting team was visibly irritated. The 20-year-old lost his concentration at times, like when he slipped while attempting a scoop off Stokes. The burly all-rounder even mouthed “some bad words” but Bista decided to deal with it rather cheekily. “I just smiled at him,” said the bespectacled lad.

Bista added 57 runs with Iyer in what turned out to be a brilliant Powerplay. He then joined hands with birthday boy Vince, and the pair scored 38 off the next six.

“For me, it’s good to score against this attack. Now, I know that I can bat well against an international attack, too. I’m glad I could do it today. I look forward to (more such opportunities), and I want to take this confidence with me,” a happy Bista said.

“I was not concentrating on them. I was looking at the ball, playing my natural game. I wanted to score runs. The wicket was good and I enjoyed myself,” he added.

Not the one to rest on his laurels, Bista rued the fact that he couldn’t finish the game. He was dismissed by Moeen Ali in the 12th over. “That six over point, off Jordan, was my best shot. But I am slightly disappointed I couldn’t finish the game. It would have been very good. This knock is the cherry on the cake because doing well against an international side gives you a very good feeling,” he said.

Surprisingly, Bista was not considered for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the BCCI’s inter-state Twenty20 competition. “I wanted to make a statement. I was not picked for the T20s. I wanted to show that I can play T20. I think I did OK. But, yes, I could have finished the game. I know I can play (in the big league). But I am not ready yet. I need to score more than 1,000 runs in two first-class seasons. That’s my aim.”