Oberoi breaks Pataudi Senior~~s 74-year-old record

Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Salil Oberoi. The name may not set bells ringing but it sure looks on course of becoming quite popular in the days to come.

The promise and potential of this 21-year-old Delhi boy, who has made history by breaking a 74-year-old record of slamming the highest individual score in an Oxford Vs Cambridge match, has made people in the cricketing circle sit up and take notice of the young talent.

That the record earlier stood in the name of Nawab of Pataudi Senior (238 not out scored in 1931) has made the feat by this Merton College student all the more remarkable.

Salil's 247 runs in the annual four-day University match at Fenner's set up a remarkable victory for the Oxford team of which he has now been made the skipper for the coming season.

It is no mean achievement and rightly so it prompted Tiger Pataudi to send a congratulatory letter to Salil.

"I could not believe it initially. It was a very pleasant surprise when I received the letter. For him to call up when he himself is going through a bad time, I think it is just great," Salil said in New Delhi.

"It was very encouraging to read his letter. I also plan to write to him and express my thanks," said the player who is here for a short stay before leaving for England this weekend.

The message by Pataudi reads: "I often wondered how long it would be before my father's record was broken. I had a strange feeling that it would probably be an Indian who would do it. Well done and congratulations."

On a two-year Rhodes scholarship, Salil said his double-century has suddenly put the spotlight on him and would go a long way in shaping his career.

"Honestly speaking I did not expect such a reaction back home. I am more than happy, the double ton has boosted my first class average considerably."

Next year in June, Salil would lead his team in a One-day game against Cambridge at Lord's besides a four-day fixture.

"There would be added responsibility now that I have been made the skipper. There would also be the pressure of playing at home before an expectant crowd. This time we lost the One-day game which was pretty annoying for the entire team but we are now fired up for the contest next year."

Salil said the rivalry between the two teams was akin to the one witnessed during India-Pakistan matches.

"The rivalry is immense. It is difficult to imagine but simply put we just hate each other," said the youngster who has played in five Ranji matches for Delhi.

He will have to go through the Ranji grind once again when he returns in August next year but is drawing confidence from the fact that his comeback would be awaited.

"My stint with Oxford has ensured that everyone knows I am coming back otherwise it would have been a case of out of sight, out of mind."

Breaking into Team India is of course his ultimate aim and Salil is working on his bowling to develop into a genuine all-rounder which the country really needs.

"I bowl off spinners, I have taken a couple of wickets also. I am working very hard on my bowling and fielding, let us see how I fare when I come back next year."

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