Mohit Ahlawat became the first batsman to hit a triple-ton in T20 cricket. Image courtesy (Facebook)
Mohit Ahlawat became the first batsman to hit a triple-ton in T20 cricket. Image courtesy (Facebook)

Once upon a time, a team scoring 300 in an ODI was considered a rarity. Then came T20 cricket to change the dynamics of the game. Six-hungry batsmen, equipped with monster bats with thicker edges, started ruling the game. Bowlers were pushed to the verge of extinction. T20 cricket took no time in leaving an impact on the way even 50-over cricket is approached. While some may argue, the balance of the game tilted heavily in the favour of batsmen ever since T20 cricket came into existence. Who would have thought a batsman could reverse-sweep a fast bowler to the stands over short third-man?

So, there was a time when team scores of 300 were rare. Then Rohit Sharma scored 264 all by himself. Limited-overs cricket has indeed come a long way. But on Tuesday, things reached a new level altogether when Delhi s Mohit Ahlawat became the first man on the planet to score 300 in a T20 match at any level. Playing for Maavi XI in the Friends Premier League, a T20 tournament, at Delhi s Lalita Park, the wicketkeeper-batsman achieved this unprecedented feat. He hammered the Friend s XI bowlers all around the park en route his 300-run knock, one that came off just 72 balls and was laced with a whopping 39 sixes and 14 boundaries.

CricketCountry spoke to Ahlawat after his record-smashing triple-ton. Here are some excerpts:

CricketCountry (CC): Congratulations on your achievement! You must be feeling out of this world?

Mohit Ahlawat (MA): Thanks a lot! Yes indeed, feeling very happy at the moment. It has not sunk in yet. I am still trying to absorb this feeling.

CC: You scored 50 in the last 2 overs and 34 in the last over to get to your triple-hundred. When did you realise you could get to that milestone? Were you backing yourself to get there?

MA: I was feeling good out there in the middle. I was middling the ball. I knew I could get to the 300-run mark if I batted for 20 overs. After the 17th over I felt I had a realistic chance of getting to the figure. I thought if I could get at least 12 balls from final 18, I could get there. Fortunately, things went my way.

I had also got 224 not out in a 40-over game before, during the DDCA league last year and 158 in a T20 game. I ve played a few big knocks before. So I knew I could do it again.

CC: How did cricket happen to you? When did you start playing the game professionally?

MA: I am basically from Panipat, Haryana. It is there that as a youngster I started playing the game. After I started doing well in the local tournaments, my family and well-wishers suggested me to take up the game seriously. I moved to Delhi on my father s advice.

It s been five years now in Delhi. I m a student of Sanjay Bhardwaj-Sir, who has coached players like Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand and Amit Mishra.

CC: How has it been working with Bhardwaj-Sir?

MA: I feel fortunate to have him as my mentor. Bhardwaj-Sir has helped me tremendously in my journey so far. The things I have learnt from him in the last five years have made me the player I am today. Besides being my coach, he has been like a guardian to me in Delhi. He has been kind enough to allow me to stay at his academy as well.

CC: You made your First-Class debut in last season and then got dropped. What went wrong?

MA: I played a few good knocks in the city league, which earned me a place in the Delhi squad for the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy. I made my debut against Rajasthan but could score only 5 (1 and 4). I failed to open my account in the next two matches and was duly dropped from the team. Things did not work out the way I had wanted and I was disappointed on not making the chances count, but was determined to do well and earn my place back. I hope to be able to get back to the team with a few more good knocks under my belt.

CC: You were replaced by Rishabh Pant in the Delhi side. He has now made it to India s T20I squad? Are you up for the competition?

MA: He is doing really well at the moment. But I love challenges and competition excites me. I am more focussed on doing everything right on my part, following the process and scoring heavy runs. Selection, at the end of the day, is not in my hands. But hard work is.

CC: What s your routine apart from cricket?

MA: I stay at the academy and devote major time to cricket. The day begins with fitness session in the morning and then practice in the evening. Apart from cricket, I am also focussed on completing my studies. I have enrolled for a Bachelor s degree from Khalsa College and am currently pursuing the final year of my graduation. The primary focus, though, shall remain cricket.

CC: It s a clich d question, but what are your ambitions?

MA: My short-term goal is to get back to the Delhi side as soon as possible. The ultimate objective, like every cricketer who plays First-Class cricket, is to play for India.

CC: The IPL auction is just around the corner. Is it on your mind, especially after this innings?

MA: As I said, I am more focussed on doing my bit, giving my 100 per cent every time I play. Everything else will follow once I start doing that. Having said that, I do want to play the IPL: if not this year, may be next year.

CC: Have u heard from anyone from DDCA as yet?

MA: No, not as yet.

CC: Who is your idol?

MA: MS Dhoni (a coy smile follows).