The Uttar Pradesh vs Services Group B Ranji Trophy match was lit up with a stellar performance by wicketkeeper-batsman Eklavya Dwivedi. The youngster,a right-handed lower-order batsman,played a pivotal role in ensuring an innings win for Uttar Pradesh,scoring a fighting 131 to help his side reach 369 in reply to Services’ meagre total of 164. This was Dwivedi’s third match of the season and the 25-year old has already smashed 220 runs at an average of 73.33.
With at least three more matches left to play for this season,there is every chance that it will be a memorable season for the wicket-keeper bat. While it is easier for the batsmen up the order,Dwivedi feels the presence of all-rounders in the team helps him play longer knocks. Playing at no. 6 or 7 also gives him time to rest a bit.
In the longer format I have to keep in mind that I have to keep for 90-100 overs every match before I go into bat. When I bat lower down the order,it helps me recuperate and assess the game well before going into bat. I’m fine batting at no. 6 or 7 because there are plenty of all-rounders in our team and it is not that I don’t have people to bat around me,’ says Dwivedi.
Dwivedi faced stiff competition from Amir Khan,the other wicketkeeper in the squad. Even this year,Eklavya had to wait for his turn as Amir Khan played the first couple of matches.
It is not really competition. I don’t look at it like that. I just need to keep working hard on my game and keep improving every season. I don’t care who is doing what,and who is not doing what, he says.
It was not just the opening matches,but also a practice fixture against the touring West Indies,that Amir Khan found a place in the playing XI ahead of Dwivedi. He was disappointed on missing out on a ‘great opportunity’,but was keen to make amends.
I thought I should have played that game. I was very disappointed. It would have been a great opportunity if I would have played and had done well. People would have noticed me,but it’s gone and it is important to look forward now, he says.
The right-hander,who has represented Uttar Pradesh from the U-14 level,has a Delhi connection. He not only passed out from the Modern School,Barakhamba Road,but represents Sonnet club in the local tournaments here. He feels Delhi is one the best places to play club cricket.
Ask anyone and they will say club cricket in Delhi is the best. Especially the Hot Weather tournament. The body goes through a lot of toil and there is always good competition because all the major corporates take part. You face a lot of good bowlers,a few international players pparticipate too and when you perform here it gives you a lot of confidence. It is not easy to score runs in Delhi. So good performances here helps to plan your game better.
Breakthrough will come
Dwivedi feels that with the IPL,several A tours and zonals as a part of the cricket calender,the big breakthrough will come if he keeps scoring the runs.
Just score well,and break into the zone side. There are so many ‘A’ tours happening these days,so I focus to keep on doing well and score as many runs as possible. You never know when a break comes your way. The auctions are going to happen for the domestic players next year for the IPL,so it is important to score runs in the matches I play, he said.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh,Dwivedi was a part of the Pune Warriors unit for a couple of years. He didn’t get a hit in the middle,but picked up ‘tidbits’ from foreign players. For him,the stint with Pune was more about learning good work ethics and the mental aspect of the game.
Basically you don’t learn a lot about skills in T20. But with the foreign players,you learn good work ethics and how to go about your game and enjoy it,which is very important when the pressure is high, says Dwivedi.