Twenty-four years is a long time for a record to stand. And this mark required a special effort to be broken. A batsman would have to make over 260 runs — no mean feat even for seasoned pros — on his first-class debut.
Before Saturday, Mumbai veteran, the now-retired Amol Muzumdar; he played 171 first-class games and scored over 11,000 runs, held the record for most runs on first-class debut. Muzumdar went onto make 30 more hundreds, so 21-year-old Madhya Pradesh opener Ajay Rohera who remained unbeaten on 267 on debut against Hyderabad has a long way to go. But he has kick-started his first-class career in the right fashion — the 345-ball knock comprised 21 fours and five sixes.
Moreover, Rohera’s knock also ensured his team had piled on enough runs to put the Hyderabad batsmen under pressure. Madhya Pradesh bowled out Hyderabad for 185 for an innings and 253 run victory.
Till few years ago Rohera used to play softball cricket in his colony in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. Quite in love with the game, he soon upgraded to a proper nets and practice wicket set-up near his house. When the local club was looking for a wicket-keeper Rohera was picked. This is how he started playing regularly.
Last season, was a breakthrough one for the 21-year-old — he scored 600 runs, including a double century, a century and and two fifties.
He was picked for the Madhya Pradesh Under-23 team and a match-winning 90 against Odisha and 110 against Chhattisgarh convinced the selectors that he was good enough to play in the Ranji Trophy competition.
It was only when Rohera returned to the dressing room during a session break that his team mates informed him that he had a shot at entering the record books. Rohera didn’t disappoint.
“I never thought I will see this day. Till last year I was trying to make a mark in the under 23 team and suddenly I have made it to the record books. When you make your debut, you don’t think of records but just want a decent start to your career. I hope I can continue making runs. I know I have a long way to go and it won’t be easy but I hope to play for the country one day ,” Rohera told The Indian Express.
Rohera had also added another feather to his cap during his innings on Saturday. He became the highest individual scorer for Madhya Pradesh surpassing J P Yadav’s 265.
Brief scores: Hyderabad 124 all out in 35.3 overs (Himalay Agarwal 69 not out, Avesh Khan 7/24) and 185 all out in 65.5 overs (Rohit Rayudu 72, Avesh Khan 5 for 30) lost to Madhya Pradesh 562 for 4 declared in 140.4 overs (Ajay Rohera 267 not out, Rajat Patidar 51, Yash Dubey 139 not out) by an innings and 253 runs.