Kaushal Singh, a first class cricketer from Jharkhand, scored his maiden hundred in his third season of Ranji Trophy in the match against Maharashtra at the Karnail Singh Stadium, New Delhi.
While reaching the three-figure mark was momentous occasion in itself, what made the milestone even more special for the youngster was that his idol – and Jharkhand's most illustrious cricketer – Mahendra Singh Dhoni was present in the stands to witness it.
Singh's delight, at both the ton and the witness, was evident as he pointed his bat towards Dhoni in the audience as soon as he reached his century, according to a report in The Times of India.
Before achieving the feat, he had decided that he'll play his natural game and informed his coach about it. "I had told my coach (Rajiv Kumar) that I was going to my play my natural game. I love to play aggressive cricket. I told him agar conditions samajh nahi aaya, toh mujhe jo aata hai vo karunga," he told Times of India.
And what advice did his idol Dhoni give him?
"Even MSD told me ki jasisa acha lagta hain vaise khelo (Play your natural game). Dhoni bhaiya mere idol hain. Sirf Dhoni hain, aur koi nahi," he added.
In his innings of 130, he hit 16 fours and scored three maximums. And like his hero, he went hard against slow bowlers, hitting Maharashtra's Swapnil Gugale for three consecutive boundaries in one single over.
A young Singh had moved to Ranchi to chase his cricket dreams, after the capital of Jharkand became biggest cricketing centre for young players in the state, thanks to local boy Dhoni, according to a report by Indian Express.
Singh's journey to first class cricket has been an eventful one. His first encounter with the leather ball was only in a selection trial match. Before the selection, he practiced and played just with the tennis ball. However, he was quick to attribute his attacking mindset to the tennis ball cricket he played in his young days. "You don’t have time to get your eye in (tennis ball cricket). So you had to play shots right from the time you walk in to bat," he was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
Jharkhand have scored 306 in reply to Maharashtra's 210 in their first innings. Maharashtra have begun their second innings, with captain Kedar Jadhav and RA Tripathi batting on 54 for 2, at the time this was written.