For 16 months,Lakhan Singh had been waiting to convert his numerous half-centuries for Food Corporation of India into a three-figure score. Usually,the 20-year-old would either falter when he was close to the milestone or would run out of overs. On Monday,Lakhan made his first century,and it was a special knock. Off just 99 balls,Lakhan smashed 191 with 21 fours and six sixes against Madras Club in the Lala Raghubir Singh Hot Weather tournament at Modern School.
“I had been wanting to score a hundred for FCI and I am happy it came in this way. And now that I have got a big one,I hope to continue my form,” said Lakhan,after FCI posted a 167-run win.
Before the Hot Weather tournament,Lakhan had bagged the ‘Man of the Series’ award in the recently concluded All India BL Shah cricket tournament played at Nainital. In all he played four games,including the quarterfinal,semifinal and final,and played matchwinning knocks in each of them. Lakhan started his Nainital campaign with an unbeaten 96 in the final league match and then followed it up with 74,64 and 92 in the knockout rounds.
“I believe my form at Nainital has helped me to stay focused and I carried my form into the big innings in Delhi. Once you are in good form,people ask you what different you have started doing but I hadn’t made any major changes. When you play for a big team like FCI,the responsibility motivates you to give your best,” he says.
Talking about his knock,Lakhan says that he set himself small targets through the innings. “When I completed my fifty,I thought now 80,then 100 and eventually I reached 150. After that it was easy. I got out in the 38th over,when I was on 191,and maybe the pressure of going for 200 with two overs left was what got me out. I enjoyed hitting 23 runs in an over including four boundaries and a six,” Lakhan says.
It has been six years since Lakhan first took to serious cricket at the Nehru stadium in Ghaziabad. He represented UP in the U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy in 2010,but it was a difficult tournament for him. But he made up in the U-19 school nationals that followed in which he scored two half centuries in three matches. After that,Lakhan performed with bat and ball for his University last year,making an unbeaten 52 and a 40 coupled with a three-wicket haul.
“My time at the Sports College where I spent four years proved really helpful. Though I never got a chance to interact with our alumni like Suresh Raina and RP Singh,just being there at the institute was an inspiring experience,” he says.
Brief Scores: FCI: 382 for 4 in 40 overs (Lakhan Singh 191,Chetan Sharma 108,Paras Dogra not out 39,Varun Sood 3/59) bt Madras Club 215 all out in 33.5 overs (Varun Sood 87,Manav Goyal 39,awan Kumar not out 26,Puneet Bisht 25,Manan Sharma 4/36,Rahul Sethi 3/48,Akash Malhotra 2/34)