Mumbai batsman Praful Waghela's recent unbeaten 169 for his South East England club Reading has become a talking point in village cricket circles in Old Blighty.
On August 23, Reading's opponents Amersham scored 296 for eight in their 50-over Home Counties Premier League game at Sonning Lane. A lot depended on opener Waghela to maintain Reading's string of 50-50 victories since June 2013.
The southpaw's career-best score for the club was based on some attacking shots all around the park. Exactly 12 months ago, he slammed 153 against Great and Little Tew.
Waghela and partner Tom Fray (64 off 69 balls) put on 171 for the opening wicket. The Worli resident hit 169 off just 122 balls with 25 hits to the fence. Amazingly, Reading's six-wicket victory was achieved with eight overs to spare.
Skipper David Hartley was naturally ecstatic. “To win a high-scoring game with eight overs to spare is a tremendous achievement. It was a special performance from Praful,” Hartley told the Reading Post newspaper.
The 29-year-old Waghela has played four Ranji Trophy games for Mumbai, the last one being against Madhya Pradesh in the 2011-12 quarter-final at Indore where he scored an unbeaten 51 in Mumbai's second innings.
Waghela's good form spilled over to last Saturday when his 26-ball half century helped Reading beat Finchampstead to ensure a promotion to Division 1 of the Home Counties Premier League.