At 19, Mahipal Lomror is already three seasons old in domestic cricket. Having first made his mark by representing India at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, he was named Rajasthan's captain last year despite his relative inexperience.
It's not like Lomror was a child prodigy. He started playing cricket when he was about eight but became serious only a couple of years later, after he shifted base from his hometown Nagaur to Jaipur in 2011. Climbing the rungs of age-group cricket there, Lomror established himself as a top-order batsman who bowls handy left-arm spin.
Since making his first-class debut in 2016, Lomror has scored 1269 runs at 36.25 in 23 matches. His first 12 games also fetched him 25 wickets with a best of 5 for 51. However, a back injury meant he could hardly bowl last season.
Growing up, Lomror was a bit short-tempered; calmness started coming in as he played more and more cricket. "I started observing seniors around me and I realised anger never helps," Lomror says. "Last year when I captained Rajasthan, I realised I needed to be calmer to make better decisions."
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Known as Mahi among his pals, Lomror idolised Adam Gilchrist since childhood. "He [Gilchrist] was always a big-match player. His strokeplay used to take the game away from the opposition, and that thing always attracted me."
A similar positive approach also benefitted Lomror during the last Ranji Trophy season where he finished as the second-highest run-getter for Rajasthan (708 runs at 44.25).
"In my first two seasons, I wasn't playing my natural game. And when I reviewed my performance, I felt I could play a bit more attacking cricket. I needn't stop playing my scoring shots. I think that helped me somewhere."
Both the calmness and attractive strokeplay were once again on display on Saturday as he brought up his third first-class hundred during the Duleep Trophy match against India Green.
With his side India Red still 300 in arrears at the start of the day, Lomror took his time and saw off the first hour when Rahul Chahar extracted some turn and disconcerting bounce. From the other end, Ishan Porel induced a bottom edge but it fell short of the wicketkeeper.
Amid all this, he didn't miss out on loose balls. Porel was flicked off the pads, Ankit Rajpoot was punched behind point and when a tiring Chahar bowled a couple of short and wide ones, Lomror cut them for four as well. This meant even if Karun Nair, who had breezed to 77 on Friday, struggled at the other end, the score didn't come to a standstill.
Lomror brought up his fifty off 129 balls, with eight fours and one six. When on 90, Nair chopped one onto his stumps off Rajpoot, bringing an end to a 74-run stand. Lomror and KS Bharat took the side to 230 for 4 at lunch.
Once the sun came out in the second session, Lomror gave a glimpse of why he was called "Junior Gayle" during his age-group days. Using his feet against Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, he launched one over the long-on fielder for a six. Jadeja flighted the next ball as well, only to be hit over mid-off for four. Another six off Chahar waltzed him into the 90s. He reached his hundred with a two off the same bowler and fittingly, it was a back-foot punch - his most productive shot during this knock - that took him to the landmark.
In the company of Jaydev Unadkat, he took India Red to 363 before falling to Jadeja for 126. Unadkat and Akshay Wakhare too fell shortly after that but late fireworks from No. 10 Avesh Khan, that included four sixes in one Jadeja over, pushed India Red to 404 at stumps.
"It was a slow wicket and the ball wasn't coming on to the bat that easily," Lomror said after the day's play. "So I couldn't play my free-flowing cricket and had to be very selective about my shots. Their bowlers were also fresh in the morning and, therefore, taking my time seemed a better option."
But with India Red still trailing by 36, India Green are the favourites for a first-innings lead that will take them to the final without the Quotient Rule calculations coming into the picture. If that happens, the final will be a rematch of the ongoing game.