"Our thought process was to get to at least 150" - Atit Sheth on his heroic 74 in Duleep Trophy semifinal

Atit Sheth
Atit Sheth's gritty 74 and 4 wickets earned him the Player of the Match award in the semifinal (P.C.:Twitter)

Baroda all-rounder Atit Sheth has been making waves in domestic cricket for quite some time now because of his unique skill set. Seam-bowling all-rounders are rare in India and as the search continues for Hardik Pandya's understudy, Sheth has quietly raised his hands with impressive performances in domestic cricket.

One such impressive performance came during the recently concluded Duleep Trophy. West Zone were in all sorts of trouble in the semifinal against Central Zone at 65/5. This was when Sheth walked out to bat and scored a sparkling 74 on a difficult track.

Along the way, Atit Sheth had some crucial partnerships with veteran batter Cheteshwar Pujara and fellow all-rounder Dharmendrasinh Jadeja. Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Sheth opened up on the mindset he and the aforementioned two players had while reviving West Zone's innings. He said:

"When I first walked out to bat, Pujara bhai was batting at the other end and he told me how the wicket was playing. He made me realize that since the bowlers were on top, we had to bat time and weather the storm so that it could get easier the longer we bat. So at 65/5, our thought process was to get to at least 150 and then reassess if we are in a better position. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and I also had a good partnership and as runs started to flow, we began to think of a total of around 200 as that would have given our bowlers some cushion."

West Zone somehow managed to reach 220 and then bowled brilliantly to bowl out Central Zone for just 128. Pujara, in the second innings, produced arguably one of the knocks of the tournament, smashing an incredible 133 and ensuring that his team couldn't lose the game. On this, Atit Sheth added

"The pitch was very tough to bat on. But the way Pujara bhai batted in the second innings and scored a hundred, it was a huge thing to score a century on that pitch. The way he batted was a learning on how to bat in such conditions. When he batted it didn't seem like there was anything happening in the pitch when the reality was that it was seaming around."

Atit Sheth on his bowling

Atit Sheth also picked up four crucial wickets in the semifinal and seemed to know exactly what lengths to hit right from the get-go. He opened up on the favorable conditions in Alur and also explained how he prepared his plans for the opposition batters.

On this, Sheth stated:

"I have played a lot of cricket at Alur and knew that medium pacers get a bit of purchase on that pitch. The conditions had a lot of help for the seamers and I prepared myself accordingly. I focused on doing the basics right, which is hitting the right lengths and bowling in that corridor of uncertainty. We had also played against Central Zone last year and I had seen videos to prepare for particular batters. So the focus was to bowl stump-to-stump because there was enough help in the pitch."

The next stop for Atit Sheth would be the Deodhar Trophy and he would be keen to continue putting in the performances that have brought him in the limelight.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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