Prashant Chopra's file photo from 2012 Under-19 World Cup (Image courtesy: Getty)
Prashant Chopra’s file photo from 2012 Under-19 World Cup (Image courtesy: Getty)

Himachal Pradesh opener Prashant Chopra entered the record books for scoring 271 runs on Day One of the Ranji Trophy match against Punjab. On the following day, his 25th birthday, Chopra slammed the first triple-ton of Ranji Trophy 2017-18. He became the third cricketer to register a triple-century on his birthday after Colin Cowdrey (1962) and Raman Lamba (1995). His batting also drew comparisons with Virender Sehwag for the audacity in stroke-making en route his career best First-Class score of 338. ALSO READ: Birthday boy Prashant Chopra slams 300

Chopra admitted that he had never played like this before. It required a lot of patience because when you are batting on 150-160 then your intentions are to hit over the top. But in this entire innings of 363 balls, I hit only two lofted shots and those were the two sixes that I hit. I have not played like this in my career so far; not playing the lofted shots. The first time I lofted the ball I was on 46 to get past 50 and that was a six and again I lofted the ball after going past 300, Chopra told bcci.tv.

He went on to credit the HPCA as the director of cricket Vikram Rathour for helped him keep focus.

Vikram Rathour sir is our coach this year. He has been talking to me. His message to me was to carry on (batting). At lunch (on Day 1) I was not out on 84. He told me, I want to see your double hundred today ‘ He told me to play normally and I followed his instructions. When I came back to the dressing room at Tea (Day 1) on 180 not out, he told me that he wanted a triple hundred from me from that situation, Chopra said.

Rathour was in all praise for his pupil, saying, Prashant bats in a flow and when he starts playing his shots, he overdoes it at times. He is an extremely talented player who, at times starts finding it too easy, so I was just giving him different challenges. I gave him a challenge to score runs with singles in a particular session. I asked him to if he can do that? In one session it was about not playing the pull shot as they were trying to set him up by bowling the short ball. So, I told him I want to see him not falling into that trap and it worked.

Himachal declared their innings at 729 for 8. Punjab were 207 for 3 at lunch on Day Three.

Rathour kept Chopra motivated and told him that his stroke-play resembled that of Virender Sehwag. The comparison with one of the greatest openers in the game acted as a great confidence booster for the opener.

I have seen some of Sehwag s brilliant knocks in domestic and international cricket and this knock really reminded me of him. I have been around for more than 25 years now but never been in a game where 460 runs (459 for 2) were scored on the first day in a Ranji Trophy game. This was an outstanding innings that he played and against a good attack. All the three guys (Manpreet Gony, Sandeep Sharma and Barinder Sran) have played for India. Some of the shots he played actually reminded me of Viru, added Rathour.