Shikhar Dhawan has had a remarkable 12 months and showed no signs of going off the boil with an outstanding innings of 248 in an A game for India against South Africa in Pretoria.
It was the second-highest score in List A history, falling short only of Ali Brown's 268, scored in 2002. Here's the list before Dhawan, per Cricket Archive:
What's remarkable about Dhawan's innings was the way he picked up the pace as the innings progressed:
Shikar Dhawan was never slow but he went on rampage after reaching 97 off 85. Then added 151 in 65 balls with 18 fours and 7 sixes— Simon Wilde (@swildecricket) August 12, 2013
Had he not been caught off the bowling of Juan Theron, he might have gone on to an almost unimaginably large number. When he departed for 248, there were still 32 balls to be bowled in the innings. Assuming Dhawan had kept up his strike rate of 165 and faced all 32 deliveries, he'd have scored an even 300.
But it is not a miss that is likely to hurt his team, who posted 433-3 in 50 overs.
STAT ALERT! India A finish on 433/3, the sixth-highest List A total of all time.— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) August 12, 2013
Nor is it likely to affect Dhawan himself, whose progress shows no sign of let-up.
The 27-year-old made his Test debut in March against Australia and scored an extraordinary 187 in his maiden (and to date only) innings, from just 174 balls.
How good is Shikhar Dhawan?
He then won a recall into the India one-day team and was part of the Champions Trophy-winning XI, top-scoring with 363 runs, including two centuries, and winning the man of the series award for good measure.
His 248 will have been made on a batsman-friendly pitch, but his ability to stroke the ball through the gaps with ease and his lightning footwork to spinners make him very, very capable in his home conditions—while his runs in England hinted he might have some hidden depths as well.
Whatever his future, whatever the circumstances of the match, 248 from 150 balls is a score to take notice of.