N Jagadeesan's mantra to success is quite simple: stay in the middle and bat till the 50 overs.
In the form of his life, Jagadeesan on Monday smashed a world record breaking 277, the highest List A score ever, to fire Tamil Nadu to an incredible 435-run win over Arunachal Pradesh in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
His blistering knock saw him break the 20-year old List A record held by Alistair Brown, who hit 268 for Surrey vs Glamorgan.
"It felt really good...," said Jaggi, as he is called by his teammates, when asked about his reaction to smashing a world record score.
"I mean I think not only this game but even in the other games the only aim for me is to play 50 overs. Who the opposition is doesn't matter. There is one process for me, the aim is to stay in the middle." It was the 'keeper-batter's fifth consecutive hundred as he pulverised the hapless Arunachal bowling attack, scoring 277 from 141 balls which included 15 sixes.
His pyrotechnics saw Tamil Nadu amass 506 for 2 in 50 overs. The TN bowlers then bundled out Arunachal for 71 to set up the biggest ever win in List A matches.
Jagadeesan has been around in the Tamil Nadu squad for some six years now and at times has been shuffled around the batting order when Dinesh Karthik is available. The 26-year old said he has been working a lot on his batting and fitness.
"I have been working a lot on my batting and also my keeping and especially on my fitness. I have been doing it for some time now. Eventually when I score runs I feel good," he said.
Jagadeesan said he cherished his 128-run knock against Haryana the most.
"I think I would have to say (the one against) Haryana was very good. They had a good bowling attack and the ball was seaming around even in the 40th over. Obviously I cherish all the knocks but the Haryana one was tougher." Asked if he was aware of the record, Jagadeesan said he was just following the process.
"No, not really, I was not really thinking about all the records. It was just about batting and following all that I have been doing." Apart from the highest ever List A score, Jagadeesan and his opening partner B Sai Sudharsan set a record for highest partnership for any wicket in a 50-overs game.
"It has been amazing. I love batting with Sai. We complement each other a lot. We run hard between the wickets, that is something which we feel really good about. We enjoy each other's company." On keeping wickets after batting for nearly 50 overs, Jagadeesan said: "I am really happy about that to be honest. After working hard on my fitness, for me to play almost 50 hours and then keep wickets, it feels good." Jagadeesan was recently released by IPL giants Chennai Super Kings ahead of next month's mini auction.
"That's not my choice, it was their choice. It is not something which I could control. The only thing I could do was control how I could play." He was with CSK for four years and got to play seven IPL games.
Tamil Nadu coach M Venkataramana was all praise for Jagadeesan and Sudharsan.
"Great tournament for both Sai and Jagadeesan so far. They complement each other well and the energy levels they have on the field is tremendous. Both play some good cricketing shots to build a long innings. Their intent and hunger to score big can be seen in their approach," he said.