‘If this has happened, that would too’ N Jagadeesan believes first List A 300 might come soon

277, 128, 168, 107, 114*. Five games, five tons and N Jagadeesan has owned the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy with bucket loads of runs for Tamil Nadu at top of the order. While the four hundreds on the trot had everyone talking, it was the domination against Arunachal Pradesh that made him the toast of social media on Monday afternoon.

277 runs off 141 balls in an innings laced with 25 4s and 15 6s is no ordinary feat. Even if it came against Arunachal Pradesh. The right-hander rewrote record books during the knock and became the only player to hit five List A hundreds on the trot. He overtook Kumar Sangakkara, Alviro Petersen, and Devdutt Padikkal who had earlier managed four consecutive hundreds in the format. Jagadeesan’s 277 is also the highest individual score in men’s List A cricket as the previous best was 268 by Alistair Brown back in 2002. Yes, 20 years ago!

The wicketkeeper-batter got out in the 42nd over and certainly had lot of time and deliveries to overhaul the 300-run mark. It’s not every day that a player accumulates these many runs in a single innings, that too in a 50-over format, and the disappointment of missing the milestone was evident in his voice after a record-breaking day.

“The ball was there… I went with my instinct and went through with the shot. It is going to haunt me for a very long time but I am really happy with the effort,” N Jagadeesan tells cricketnext.com in an exclusive chat.

The contest between Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh was the 100th fixture of the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy and it was a memorable day for Jagadeesan, and Tamil Nadu. The 26-year-old has been on song this season and he says it’s been the pre-season work and the outings with his team India Cements in the Chennai league which helped him hit the right zone before the domestic season got underway.

“I feel it was the Chennai league which kind of put me in the right zone. In the five matches I played, I had two hundreds and three fifties which kind of put me in the right zone. A lot of work, continuous work, has happened behind the scene and I am extremely proud to see the results. My TN coach, coach Prasanna, my father, and everyone has put in a lot of work with me. It’s been a disciplined and cautious effort which I have put in, day in and day out with them, and now the results are coming my way,” says a very proud Jagadeesan.

Control the controllable

Just a few days back, CSK decided to release N Jagadeesan but the “bad news” didn’t affect his preparations and mindset for the ongoing season as he went about scoring runs with a lot of consistency and domination. The stumper has been around the circuit for a long time and always had the reputation of clearing the ropes with ease and hitting the ball really long and far, but this season saw a very patient and composed Jagadeesan in the middle.

“The franchise decided to release me and it was something not in my hands. Obviously, it is bad news for a cricketer to be released by a franchise but I have no control over that. What I do have control over is my process, my preparation, and my cricket. I cautiously wanted to bat with the mindset of batting long this season and am very proud to see it come off so well. My mindset was to just focus on the present and what I can control, so it was only my batting and how I can do my best there. The ball does a bit early on here in Bengaluru so I cautiously wanted to see off the first few overs and then build my innings from there on, and bat deep and long,” reveals Jagadeesan.

It is not just Jagadeesan who was happy to see the way things have come off for him this season. Baba Aparajith, who has also led Tamil Nadu in the past, was very proud of his teammate’s run and was quick to point out the change he has seen this year.

“I think the biggest change I would say, from the outside which I have seen, is the way he is building and controlling the innings. That has been brilliant and the manner in which he is pacing his knocks has been really good,” says Aparajith.

Aparajith, who bats in the middle order in the fifty-over format, has not had a good hit in the middle yet because of the consistency shown by the pair of Jagadeesan and Sai Sudarshan at top of the order. The all-rounder isn’t complaining and is very pleased with the openers’ show.

“It’s good for the team, no? I mean it’s so good to have the kind of starts they have given us this season and put us in such a good position. And to be honest Jagadeesan’s record will be here for a very long time. It’s not easy to score five hundreds on the trot in the format. The consistency has been absolutely brilliant and am very happy and proud of his efforts,” says Aparajith.

While spirits were very high in the Tamil Nadu camp, opposition Arunachal Pradesh were on a leather hunt as the Baba Indrajith-led unit scored a mammoth 501. As many as 45 boundaries and 17 sixes were hit during TN’s innings. Arunachal Pradesh batsman Techi Doria saw the carnage from close quarters and noted that Jagadeesan was in a destructive mood right from the word go.

‘Wo maarne hi aaya tha’

Wo maarne hi aaya tha (he came with a mindset to go after the bowling) and played his shots. The wicket was good for batting and he kept scoring runs with ease,” says Doria after a long day in the field. Did Doria keep count of the balls lost? “(laughs) bahut bhar gaya, itna dhyaan nahi diya (quite a few went missing but didn’t really keep count)”.

Arunachal Pradesh failed to up a fight against Tamil Nadu but Doria feels the side will only learn from these experiences and more games against top teams will give them invaluable experience.

“Even Tamil Nadu would have started someday, right? So the same is for us. They have been playing for a long time and we will only get better playing games and learning from the players we see. The more games we play on turf, the better we will get. It’s a matter of time and more game time and we will be up there with these teams,” says Doria.

Business as usual

After a record-shattering day, Jagadeesan has returned to his room and will repeat the process before prepping for the next fixture. With not much time between games, the right-hander prefers to rest and sleep well to be in the right zone before taking the field. So 100 No.6 loading?

“(laughs) As I said I will stay in the present and just keep repeating what I have been doing. I would say I’m in a really good space at the moment and enjoying my cricket. The whole idea is to keep it moving,” says Jagadeesan.

The stumper was disappointed to fall just 23 runs short of what would have been the first triple hundred in the format but is not losing too much sleep over it and signs off on an optimistic note.

“If this has happened, that would too”.

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