Bhargav Bhatt: 'Happy shifting to Andhra'

After bowling Andhra to a stunning, come-from-behind victory over Jammu & Kashmir at the Brabourne Stadium here on Sunday, Bhargav Bhatt is happy about shifting from his old team, Baroda.

bhargav bhatt ranji

“My ambition has always been to play a Test match for India,” said 26-year-old Bhargav Bhatt.   -  P. K. Ajith Kumar

When left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt was forced to sit out of some matches for Baroda last season, he decided to shift to Andhra.

After bowling his new Ranji Trophy team to a stunning, come-from-behind victory over Jammu & Kashmir at the Brabourne Stadium here on Sunday, Bhargav is happy with his decision.

Bhargav, who plays for King’s XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said he was delighted that he could play a big role in Andhra’s first victory of the season.

“We came here with just two points from as many matches, so this was a match we needed to win,” he said, “Though we had conceded the first innings lead, we were confident that we could win the match as we felt there would be something for the spinners on the final day.”

He took five wickets in the second winnings and finished the match with nine. “I wasn’t disappointed that I could not get 10. I have taken 10 wickets twice and this was the third time that I finished a match with nine wickets.”

One of those occasions was the unofficial Test between India ‘A’ and the West Indies ‘A’ at Shimoga three years ago. He has also played for India ‘A’ against teams from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

“My ambition has always been to play a Test match for India,” he said. “I am 26 now and if I want to realise that dream, I have to play as many first-cass matches I could; that is why I left Baroda for Andhra.”

He had made a sudden impact while playing for Baroda in the Ranji Trophy. Playing in his first full season, in 2010-11, he took 47 wickets and helped Baroda reach the final. He was also the highest wicket-taker of the season.

“It was because of Baroda’s captain Irfan Pathan’s faith in me that I was selected,” he said, “He had seen me bowl in the nets and encouraged me. It was only at the age of 16 that I bowled with a proper cricket ball for the first time; till then I was playing only tennis-ball cricket.”

He said he had the full backing from his father. “I come from a family of farmers at Salad, village near Baroda; my father wanted to play cricket, but the circumstances did not allow him to,” he said. “I also got a lot of support from Baroda’s Shreyas Academy, which produced Indian players like Kiran More, Nayan Mongia and Atual Badade.”

Bhargav said he enjoyed playing all formats of cricket, be it a four-day match or an IPL T20 game. “I was fortunate that I could play under someone like Adam Gilchrist,” he said. “And I will never forget the man-of-the-match award I got against Mumbai Indians in 2011; it felt great taking the wickets of batsmen like Kieron Pollard.”

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