Yash Dhull always knew that a smooth transition from age-group to first-class level can only happen if he is ready to counter challenges and that is precisely what worked for him on his Ranji Trophy debut for Delhi against Tamil Nadu.
The Under-19 World Cup-winning skipper, who has been a career middle-order batter, was asked to open against a formidable domestic side like Tamil Nadu and he came out in flying colours with a cracking 113 that had no less than 18 boundaries.
"In my cricket career, there have been a lot of coaches, but someone who had guided me from childhood is Rajesh Nagar sir. Nagar sir had told me that when Ranji Trophy will come, I might be asked to open, so I should be mentally prepared," soft-soft-spoken Dhull told PTI in an interview after his opening day exploits.
Delhi cricket is replete with instances where young players have lost track after showing early promise. There is no choice if someone is assigned an unfamiliar role. The player needs to accept it rather than choosing the easy option of cooling heels.
"Whatever the team demands from you, it needs to be done without any questions asked. I am ready to bat any position. I am just starting off in my career and now I need to make a mark with consistent performances and for that I need chances.
"So, when you are told to play, you need to be ready to grab that chance. When I was informed that I would be opening the innings, mentally I was ready," said Dhull, who looked like having played first-class cricket forever on his launch day.
It was even more praiseworthy as Dhull had not played any red-ball cricket this season after being named for India U-19 side before the Cooch Behar Trophy (National U-19 days format) even started.
"Cricket at this level will be as much about mindset as it is about technique. It's all in the mind and if I can have the right attitude, then things will fall in place," the youngster showed maturity beyond years.
So, what is Dhull's process of preparing for a big match?
"I do my visualisations of how I am going to play a particular bowler," said the 19-year-old.
"Try to watch videos and close my eyes and try to be in that zone where I can see the bowler running up and I am in mind deciding on a particular shot that I intend to play. What will he bowl to me and what will be my reaction time, all these things I try and visualise," he explained.
He played a quite a number of pull-shots and the best part was how he rolled his wrists to ensure that he didn't play them in the air.
"Well, from my childhood, when I started taking coaching lessons, I have been practising all types of shots and certainly pull is one of them. You have trained for all these years for these times when in actual match situation, you can execute them perfectly.
"I always had faith in my core skills and confidence that when the situation arises, I won't fail in execution," he replied politely but also exuded confidence at the same time.
But Dhull knows that there are no free lunches at this level and more he plays, the more his batting will be under scrutiny and there are better domestic attacks compared to Tamil Nadu, who will be dissecting each and every thread of his technique.
"I will take one match at a time as I don't need to look that far ahead. Whatever is ought to happen, will happen, whether I want it or not. My focus should be to control the controllable. If I can do that, things will be fine."
For him, mistakes are bound to happen but how hard he works to correct them and move in right direction is his endeavour.
"Also, this is a fact that every player will have some weakness or the other and obviously I need to work hard to rectify any errors that's there in my technique. You need to know the way to manage your game and work around the technique you have," he signed off.