It’s only been 16 days since Punjab batsman Mayank Sidana got a job with Food Corporation of India. He has already played seven matches for FCI’s cricket team,in which he has made three hundreds and an 89. Riding on Sidana’s form,FCI won the Lala Raghubir Singh Hot Weather tournament.
On Sunday,Sidana scored his third hundred,a matchwinning 116 against his former club ONGC in the GG Dutt tournament.
“I am very happy for this particular hundred. It was special not only because I scored against ONGC but also because they had a full-strength team with Gautam Gambhir,Praveen Kumar and Unmukt Chand in their ranks. It’s a huge confidence boost before I go to Punjab for my off-season camp,” Sidana says.
The switch to FCI has brought Sidana far more opportunities to bat,since he opens for them.
“At ONGC,they had a lot of experienced players,and sometimes I didn’t get enough overs to bat. At FCI,I open and try to play the full 40 overs. The mindset I walk in with is to bat long even if I score just a 50 or a 70,” he says. “But it doesn’t happen like that. Once you get settled,the big shots automatically come.”
Playing in the Delhi heat,Sidana says,has been a beneficial process,even if its caused him some pain.
“I’ve played five matches on the trot,and it’s so hot that I’ve pulled my hamstring. But playing despite the injury,and playing important innings,is what makes you a mentally strong player. Also,with the domestic season just a few months away,it is time to make a habbit of scoring big runs. Delhi cricket is giving me enough chances to perfect that,” Sidana says. The 26-year-old stressed on the fact that in all his matches,FCI had batted second,and batting had therefore been that much more challenging.
FCI will enjoy a break of a few days,allowing Sidana to pack his bags for Punjab. But he will be back for the finals of the Goswami Ganesh Dutt tournament,scheduled to be played at Ferozeshah Kotla. “Sometimes it becomes very hectic driving all the way to Chandigarh and back but I feel that is how you improve and raise your game,” he says.