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    During his knock of 96 against South Africa, Sachin Dhas played a few sumptuous pull shots. The short-arm jabs against Riley Norton prompted former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop to compare him with Shubman Gill. “No one plays this shot (short-arm jabs) better than Shubman Gill but Sachin Dhas has been imperious as well,” Bishop said in commentary.

    Gill has developed the shot from his early years of playing on a cement pitch. But in Dhas’ case, it comes from the back-foot preference and an upright stance, the kind of game that comes when a batsman can trust the bounce. It has also been developed through throw-downs from his coach Sheikh Azhar and father Sanjay Dhas with an iron plate placed at the good-length area.

    “He was always good against pace and spin. We wanted to check whether he will be able to get on top of the bounce. Azhar bhai used to put a three feet-long and four- feet wide iron plate at the good-length area. We used to do throw-downs. The ball used to climb on him. He struggled for some time but perfected his game as time progressed,” Sanjay tells The Indian Express.

    Sanjay says the knock of 96 was much better than the century Sachin scored against Nepal.

    “South Africa’s pace attack was the best of the tournament. The match was gone, but for the way he batted with Uday. He showed composure but kept playing shots as well,” says Sanjay.

    Meanwhile, coach Azhar says his ward was getting frustrated at not getting to face more balls in the U-19 World Cup. Till the match against Nepal, the middle-order batsman had not faced more than 20 balls in an inning in the tournament.

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    “He has always batted at No.4, but here he was given a different role. He wanted to play up the order, so he was a little frustrated. But after the Nepal game, when he called me, he was relieved. He told me ‘Sir, runs aa gaye ab knockouts mey bhi acha karuna (I have got the runs under my belt now and I will do well in the knockout as well),’” says Azhar.

    “He has always been the crisis man for any team he plays for. It was so satisfying to see the nerve of steel he displayed against such an excellent bowling attack,” says Azhar.

    Sanjay, who named his son after Sachin Tendulkar, has only one piece of advice to his son and that is to keep being a “team man”.

    “When he was told by the management that they were looking at him to bat No.6, I asked him whether he is playing for himself or India. He got my point and said ‘Cup jeetna hai, bas (I want to win the World Cup now). We have reached the final, there is one more match to go.”

    Azhar, who has prepared six turf wickets in Beed just for Sachin, has seen a sudden rise in the number of new trainees in his academy in the last two days.

    “Since the Nepal game, the number has almost doubled. I am sure it will only go up after his heroics against South Africa. We had 50-60 cricketers from different age-groups and since that Nepal hundred the number has crossed 100,” laughs Azhar.

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