Abhinav Mukund and Shikhar Dhawan have played five games each for India. Mukund made his Test debut against the West Indies in Kingston in June, while Dhawan made his international debut during a one-dayer against Australia at Visakhapatnam in October. Both have notched up a half century each in their five outings for India but haven't made full use of the opportunities they have got over the past 10 months. However, during the course of this Irani Cup game, the duo have made hefty contributions ó individually and as a pair ó to ensure that they stay in contention for a place when an Indian team is picked.
Both Dhawan and Mukund got their big breaks thanks to injuries to regular India players, and if such a scenario arises again, they should be well-placed to be considered after their show in the Irani Cup. Their names aren't in the relatively young and new-look one-day squad for the first two matches against England, but performances like these will help their cause.
Mukund hit 154 and Dhawan made 155 to launch a brutal assault on the Rajasthan bowlers that allowed Rest of India to smash 354 in 54 overs for the loss of just two wickets before declaring to set their opponents a mammoth target of 618. Rest of India skipper Parthiv Patel didn't enforce the follow-on after Rajasthan fell 64 runs short of the mark.
Records were set as Mukund and Dhawan made a name for themselves by creating history in the tournament. Their 310-run partnership is the best-ever opening-wicket stand in the tournament and the second-best overall. Dhawan, who made 177 off 165 balls in the first innings, became the first batsman to score centuries in each innings of an Irani game.
Tamil Nadu batsman Mukund's 154 was his third successive hundred in the Irani Cup. It followed his 126 against Mumbai in two seasons ago and 161 against the same opponents in Jaipur at the start of the last domestic season.
Mukund's sequence in the Irani Cup now reads 47 & 126, 161& 63 and 18 &154. India batting legends Gundappa Vishwanath and Dilip Vengsarkar have four centuries in the Irani Trophy, while Sunil Gavaskar has three but none have been able to make it in back-to-back seasons, let alone record a hat-trick.
Dhawan raced to his century in just 90 deliveries, while Mukund took 121 balls to reach