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After the rise of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, another opener is making his presence felt

The 28-year-old batsman has amassed 887 runs so far in the ongoing Ranji Trophy at an average of 68 plus with four centuries and five half-centuries.

Priyank Panchal
Priyank Panchal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Indian national cricket team has seen over the past several months the slide of a number of opening batsmen in the longer format. On one hand, the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay have seen lows in their careers and Rohit Sharma has found himself more a middle-order occupant than an opener on his return to Tests. On the other, newcomers like Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal are yet to see the long distance although they have done fantastic so far.

The success stories of Shaw and Agarwal, who have earned their places in the national squad by working hard, are set to fuel the determination of other opening batsmen in the country’s domestic circuit and one such opener who is making an impact is Gujarat captain Priyank Panchal. Is Priyank the new Mayank who had to wait for a long while to get that much awaited India call?

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The 28-year-old batsman has amassed 887 runs so far in the ongoing Ranji Trophy at an average of 68 plus with four centuries and five half-centuries. The third highest scorer in the domestic tournament so far after Milind Kumar and Puneet Bisht, Priyank scored 141 in the last game he played against Maharashtra last month.

Priyank played a key role in seeing Gujarat win maiden Ranji title

This is not the first time that the talented batsman has made strong claims for a place in the national side. A couple of seasons back, Priyank was a key architect behind Gujarat’s maiden Ranji title when he smashed 1,310 runs in 10 matches, falling just 105 runs short of former Indian batsman VVS Laxman’s record runs in one season. He had a relatively quieter season in 2017-18, scoring 500-odd runs from seven matches at an average of 60 and his back with his golden touch this year.

“It was all about the mindset. I just wanted to score in each and every inning. That was the mindset I cultivated in 2016-17,” Panchal told Cricketnext. “But it all actually started three-four years back when I was not scoring runs. I was trying to analyse my game.”

He said his analysis found that he was getting out in various ways. While in some cases, there was a technical error, in others, it was a mental one. “But I knew then that one day the result will come. I was just analysing and doing the work which reflected in 2016 season. This is what I like, to score runs. That’s the only thing I really like, and it’s pushing me,” he added.

An avid reader (reminding of Dravid in another way), Priyank made his first-class debut in 2008 and in a decade, he has scored over 5,400 runs in 76 matches at an average of almost 48. He has scored 19 hundreds and 30 fifties.

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